Attacks/Breaches

2/7/2017
09:00 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Point-of-Sale Malware Declined 93% Since 2014

SonicWall study highlights alarming growth in ransomware incidents.

Science dictates that for every action there's a reaction.

That's one of the main points of a new SonicWall study, which reports a 93% decline in point-of-sale (PoS) malware creation since 2014, but counters that news with a reality-check that ransomware grew by a rate of 167 times year-over-year.

The study, conducted by the SonicWall Global Response Intelligent Defense (GRID) Threat Network, found that ransomware was the payload of choice for malicious email campaigns and exploit kits. Ransomware attack attempts went from 4 million in 2015 to a staggering 638 million last year.

"It's pretty clear that the move to chip-and-PIN credit cards decreased PoS malware over the past couple of years," says Dmitriy Ayrapetov, executive director of product development at SonicWall. "This is a dramatic drop compared to 2014, which was the high point of PoS malware, the time that top retailers like Target, Home Depot, and Staples were hit with massive data breaches."

Ayrapetov adds that cybercriminals go where the money is, and during the last year, ransomware has become a very profitable business.

"With ransomware, attackers can hit both small and large businesses," Ayrapetov says. "And it's a lot less risky, since the attackers get paid in bitcoins and don't have to use a credit card. Also, the emergence of ransomware-as-a-service has reduced the barrier to entry, [so] anybody can purchase ransomware-as-a-service now."

The SonicWall study also found that SSL/TLS traffic grew by 38% last year, partly due to the growth in cloud application adoption. But yet again, the increase in SSL/TLS traffic has created another flaw: an uninspected backdoor into the network that cybercriminals can potentially exploit.

"Companies now need to look inside the network and inspect and protect encrypted traffic," says Mike Spanbauer, vice president of security, test & advisory at NSS Networks, which had an early briefing on the SonicWall report. "It's really not terribly difficult to make money spreading ransomware. You can now get service agreements. It’s really scary how accomplished a business model they have."

Other findings of the SonicWall study:

On the plus side: Dominant exploit kits, Angler, Nuclear, and Nutrino disappeared in mid-2016; unique malware samples fell to 60 million in 2016 compared with 64 million in 2015, a 6.25% decrease, while total attack attempts dropped to 7.87 billion in 2016, down from 8.19 billion in 2015.

On the minus side: IoT devices were compromised on a massive scale, leading to numerous DDoS attacks, most notably, the attack on DNS provider Dyn last fall; Android devices saw increased security protections, but remained vulnerable to overlay attacks.

The SonicWare GRID Threat Network is based on more than 1 million sensors placed in more than 200 countries and territories. The GRID Threat Network monitors traffic 24x7x365, developing its analysis on more than 100,000 malware samples collected daily. 

Related Content:

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 24 of which were spent covering networking and security technology. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
6 Security Trends for 2018/2019
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  10/15/2018
6 Reasons Why Employees Violate Security Policies
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading,  10/16/2018
Getting Up to Speed with "Always-On SSL"
Tim Callan, Senior Fellow, Comodo CA,  10/18/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Latest Comment: Too funny!
Current Issue
Flash Poll
The Risk Management Struggle
The Risk Management Struggle
The majority of organizations are struggling to implement a risk-based approach to security even though risk reduction has become the primary metric for measuring the effectiveness of enterprise security strategies. Read the report and get more details today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-10839
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Qemu emulator <= 3.0.0 built with the NE2000 NIC emulation support is vulnerable to an integer overflow, which could lead to buffer overflow issue. It could occur when receiving packets over the network. A user inside guest could use this flaw to crash the Qemu process resulting in DoS.
CVE-2018-13399
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
The Microsoft Windows Installer for Atlassian Fisheye and Crucible before version 4.6.1 allows local attackers to escalate privileges because of weak permissions on the installation directory.
CVE-2018-18381
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Z-BlogPHP 1.5.2.1935 (Zero) has a stored XSS Vulnerability in zb_system/function/c_system_admin.php via the Content-Type header during the uploading of image attachments.
CVE-2018-18382
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
Advanced HRM 1.6 allows Remote Code Execution via PHP code in a .php file to the user/update-user-avatar URI, which can be accessed through an "Update Profile" "Change Picture" (aka user/edit-profile) action.
CVE-2018-18374
PUBLISHED: 2018-10-16
XSS exists in the MetInfo 6.1.2 admin/index.php page via the anyid parameter.