Ransomware, PowerShell Malware Spike Higher, McAfee Reports

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Ransomware, PowerShell Malware Spike Higher, McAfee Reports

New malware reached an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to McAfee. The 19-page McAfee Labs Threat Report: March 2018, released March 12, reveals that 63.4 million new malware samples were discovered in the fourth quarter of 2017. Not all forms of malware, however, were found to be growing: While new ransomware and macOS malware were on the rise, new mobile malware experienced a decline. Looking beyond malware, McAfee found a spike in the volume of fileless malware, with an increase in PowerShell malware. McAfee Labs also reported that the Necurs and Gamut botnets were responsible for 97 percent of spam botnet traffic in the fourth quarter of 2017. In this slide show, eWEEK looks at some of the highlights of McAfee Labs' latest threat report.

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New Malware Samples Reach Record High

New malware reached an all-time high of 63.4 million new samples in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to McAfee Labs.

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Ransomware Continues to Grow

Among the forms of malware that grew in the fourth quarter is ransomware. According to McAfee Labs, at the end of 2017 there were 14.8 million ransomware samples.

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More macOS Malware Seen

Also on the rise is malware targeting Apple's macOS desktop operating system. McAfee Labs reported quarterly growth in new macOS malware, though on a year-over-year basis there was less new macOS malware seen in 2017 than in 2016.

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Mobile Malware on the Decline

Both on a quarterly and a year-over-year basis, McAfee Labs reported a decline in new mobile malware.

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PowerShell Threats Spike

Attackers increasingly took aim at targets via various fileless malware techniques in 2017, which included deploying scripts that abuse functionality in the Windows PowerShell utility.

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Necurs and Gamut Dominate Spam Botnet Activity

McAfee Labs reported that the Necurs and Gamut botnets were responsible for 97 percent of spam botnet traffic in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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Health Care Is the Top Target

Across 2017, health care was the most targeted sector in both North and South America.

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SMB Is the Top Network Attack

McAfee Labs found that the Server Message Block (SMB) service, used for file and folder sharing, was the top network attack in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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Despite False Positives, Biometrics Ranks as a Top Authentication Tool

While a majority of IT professionals trust biometrics as an authentication technology, they'd like to see more product standardization and fewer false positives, a Spiceworks survey finds.
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