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Malware levels fell at the end of 2019

(Image credit: Image Credit: Maksim Kabakou / Shutterstock)

If malware statistics for the fourth quarter of 2019 are anything to go by, it seems as cybercriminals were looking forward to their holidays as much as the rest of us

Cybesecurity firm Cofense issued a new report which claims there was an overall decrease in malware volume during the holiday season of 2019.

Emotet, sometimes also known as Geodo, remained one of the most popular malwares in use.

When it comes to information stealers, Agent Tesla is no longer the number one malware, as it was pushed down by Loki Bot. The latter seems to be particularly popular among “less experienced threat actors”, as it’s easy to deploy and even easier to maintain. It is capable of wreaking more havoc with less effort.

Macro-enabled Office files are still a major player when it comes to phishing for victims, mostly as part of Emotet campaigns, the report states. Compared to Q3, the use of RTF and Excel files to spread Loki Bot or HawkEye has dropped significantly in Q4.

Analysing command and control (CnC) servers for malware, the US is still the biggest host, accounting for more than 40 per cent of them. It also grew by six per cent, while Russia fell by four per cent. The UK fell behind, together with France and Germany.

Phishing, a method where hackers prey on the unexpecting workers to try and swindle a malicious payload into a network, is generally considered as one of the most dangerous methods in existence.