Ransomware grew 300 percent in 2017 in comparison with 2016 and in the current year such attacks are set to become even more vicious, according to a Quick Heal report on Monday. Ransomware, cryptocurrency mining and zero-day exploits headlined the threat landscape in 2017, said the global IT security firm’s “Annual Threat Report – 2018”.
The problem of ransomware is going to exacerbate because of growing availability of exploit kits and ransomware-as-a-service, it said. “The rising usage of advanced techniques by cybercriminals to propagate into endpoints indicates that the threat landscape will continue to evolve and become more sophisticated with each passing year,” said Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer, Quick Heal Technologies Limited.
In 2017, Quick Heal’s Security Labs detected over 930 million Windows malware that targetted individuals and businesses. The year was dominated by several exploits leaked by the hacker Group “The Shadow Brokers” such as EternalBlue, EternalChampion, EternalRomance and EternalScholar which were responsible for advanced ransomware campaigns such as WannaCry and Notpetya, and a few cryptocurrency mining campaigns.
Also, with the sudden rise in Bitcoin’s valuation, cryptocurrency miner malware became a hot attack vector for cybercriminals, according to the analysis. On the Android platform, Quick Heal Security Labs detected over one million Android malware in 2017. The proliferation of fake apps and downloading of apps from third-party stores were the biggest mobile security concerns in the previous year.
Towards the end of 2017, it observed cryptocurrency mining to have spread from personal computers to smartphones where attackers targetted gaming, adult entertainment and browsing related apps.
Besides ransomware, cryptojacking and usage of Artificial intelligence (AI) by cybercriminals are some of the top predictions to watch out for in 2018, the report said adding that an increase in the threat to mobile devices is also likely. Cryptojacking will explode in 2018 as it empowers attackers to use the latest techniques and discreetly use endpoints to illegally mine cryptocurrency, it said.