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Ransomware creators are 'pulling back to innovate'

(Image credit: Image Credit: Datto)

PhishMe has released its latest malware trends report for Q1 2017, and concluded three things:

1) Botnets are on the rise

2) It is unusually quiet on the ransomware front

3) Cyber criminals are tapping into international trends

The report, entitled 2017 Q1 Malware Review, is based on an analysis of 749 sets of phishing emails delivering nearly 10,000 unique malware samples supported by over 14,000 online resources.

First – botnets. There has been an increase of 69 per cent in botnet activity. These botnets are led by the Ursnif malware, allowing cyber criminals access they need to kick off long-term intrusions. Other tools are also used for surveillance and espionage, like TrickBot, DELoader and Zeus Panda.

Regarding ransomware, PhishMe believes it is always ‘quiet before the storm’, and that cyber criminals are actually pulling in to go back to basics, and innovate. The results of these innovations and experimentation include WannaCry – the “atom bomb of ransomware”.

The report also says many of the top malware in use was deployed through phishing techniques done in various languages. This shows that threat actors are going international. PhishMe Intelligence has seen Zeus Panda using messages in Italian, and Ursnif phishing being done in German and Japanese.

“Our Q1 2017 Malware Review shows that threat actors continue to be relentless in their tenacity to extort money and information from individuals and businesses worldwide,” explained PhishMe CTO and Co-founder Aaron Higbee. 

“Consequently, it’s clear that timely and relevant intelligence on the latest phishing attacks and threats more important than ever, which is why we are extending our ongoing phishing intelligence reporting to all our customers at no extra cost. Strategic Analysis reports have long been part of the PhishMe Intelligence offering, but now all PhishMe customers will receive weekly notifications with detailed intelligence on the evolving tactics, techniques, and procedures.”

The full repot can be found on this link (opens in new tab)

Image Credit: Datto

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.