Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

5/29/2019
12:05 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Emotet Made Up 61% of Malicious Payloads in Q1

The botnet has displaced credential stealers, stand-alone downloaders, and RATs in the overall threat landscape.

Emotet, a form of malware previously classified as a banking Trojan but now considered a botnet, made up 61% of all payloads in the first quarter of 2019, Proofpoint researchers report.

The data comes from Proofpoint's "Q1 2019 Threat Report." Researchers who have been tracking Emotet's evolution say its popularity is reflected in the growth of attacks using malicious URLs. In the first quarter of 2019, emailed cyberattacks using bad links outnumbered those packing malicious attachments by five to one — up 180% from the first quarter of 2019, they report.

"The massive shift in Emotet's prevalence and classification highlights just how quickly cybercriminals are adapting new tools and techniques across attack types in search for the largest payday," says Sherrod DeGrippo, senior director of threat research and detection at Proofproint. Indeed, Emotet's operators added more capabilities earlier this year as they continued to build Emotet from a Trojan meant to lift banking data to a threat delivering data-stealing payloads.

Emotet frequently downloads additional modules for sending spam and downloading additional malware. This caused a change in classification, as well as increases in the volume of messages trying to install Emotet. As a result, researchers saw a significant change in the volume of messages by malware family: 61% of payloads were botnets, and all of them were Emotet. The threat is responsible for the inclusion of the "botnet" category in 2019, during which Emotet has displaced credential stealers, stand-alone downloaders, and remote access Trojans (RATs) in the threat landscape.

Volumes of downloaders, stealers, and RATs fell 11, 8, and 7 percentage points, respectively, as Emotet jumped 26%. The widely distributed threat is available in malware-as-a-service form, meaning attackers can use it to distribute malware and leverage a wide network of infected devices. Emotet has been seen delivering a range of secondary payloads, including banking Trojans, but it's not yet clear if this will have a broader impact on the malware market.

Banking Trojans made up 21% of malicious payloads in the first quarter of 2019, mostly driven by IcedID, The Trick, Qbot, and Ursnif. Emotet's shift away from banking caused the banking Trojan count to fall. Combined with Emotet, the two comprised 82% of email-borne malware.

Emotet's rise aside, researchers report the engineering, automotive, and education industries are most frequently targeted with email fraud. Across all industries, targeted businesses were hit with an average of 47 emailed attacks. While lower than record highs were seen in the fourth quarter of 2018, this could be a sign that attackers are becoming more selective. "Payment" was the top subject line in email fraud attacks, up 6 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Related Content:

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
RyanSepe
100%
0%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
5/29/2019 | 10:21:26 AM
Interesting
I find its becoming more and more common that an initial payload is dropped and then modules assigned to it after the fact. I believe in that way it is helping malicious actors get their initial payload through because at landing it is seemingly non-malicious. Or at least less so than the end product.
News
US Formally Attributes SolarWinds Attack to Russian Intelligence Agency
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  4/15/2021
News
Dependency Problems Increase for Open Source Components
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  4/14/2021
News
FBI Operation Remotely Removes Web Shells From Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/14/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-3506
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
An out-of-bounds (OOB) memory access flaw was found in fs/f2fs/node.c in the f2fs module in the Linux kernel in versions before 5.12.0-rc4. A bounds check failure allows a local attacker to gain access to out-of-bounds memory leading to a system crash or a leak of internal kernel information. The hi...
CVE-2021-20208
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
A flaw was found in cifs-utils in versions before 6.13. A user when mounting a krb5 CIFS file system from within a container can use Kerberos credentials of the host. The highest threat from this vulnerability is to data confidentiality and integrity.
CVE-2021-27458
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
If Ethernet communication of the JTEKT Corporation TOYOPUC product series’ (TOYOPUC-PC10 Series: PC10G-CPU TCC-6353: All versions, PC10GE TCC-6464: All versions, PC10P TCC-6372: All versions, PC10P-DP TCC-6726: All versions, PC10P-DP-IO TCC-6752: All versions, PC10B-P TCC-6373: Al...
CVE-2020-27241
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
An exploitable SQL injection vulnerability exists in ‘getAssets.jsp’ page of OpenClinic GA 5.173.3. The serialnumber parameter in the getAssets.jsp page is vulnerable to unauthenticated SQL injection. An attacker can make an authenticated HTTP request to trigger...
CVE-2021-3497
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-19
GStreamer before 1.18.4 might access already-freed memory in error code paths when demuxing certain malformed Matroska files.