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By 17 December 2019 | Categories: news

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Web skimmers are leading the charge in malware growth in the past year according to Kaspersky. The security company explained that a 187% rise in web skimmer files has led to a a rise in unique malicious objects – up to 24 610 126 in the past year.   

Other threats, such as backdoors and banking Trojans detected in-lab, also grew, while the presence of miners dropped by more than a half. These trends have demonstrated a shift in the type of threats used by attackers on the web who search for more effective ways to target users, according to the Kaspersky Security Bulletin: Statistics of the Year report.

The growth of online skimmers’ unique files (scripts and HTML) detected by Kaspersky web antivirus equaled 187%, reaching 510,000. At the same time the number of threats detected by web antivirus have risen five-fold (by 523%), totaling 2,660,000 in 2019. Web skimmers also entered the top 20 malicious objects detected online, taking 10th place in the overall ranking. The share of new Backdoors and banking Trojan files, among all types of threats detected in-lab, also grew by 134% and 61% to reach 7,644,402 and 739,551 respectively.

Interestingly though, the company noted that the presence of programs that secretly generate cryptocurrency on users’ computers (called ‘local’ miners) has been steadily declining over the year: the number of users’ computers affected by attempts to install miners dropped by 59%, from 5 638 828 to 2 259 038.

“The volume of online attacks has been growing for years, but in 2019 we saw a clear shift from certain types of attacks that are becoming ineffective, to the ones focused on gaining clear profit from users,” explained Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, Head of Anti-Malware Research at Kaspersky.

“This is partly due to users becoming more aware of the threats and how to avoid them, and organisations steadily becoming more responsible. A good example is miners, which have lost their popularity due to lower profitability and cryptocurrencies’ fight against covert mining,” he continued.

Zakorzhevsky noted that this year we also witnessed growth in zero-day exploits, showing products remain vulnerable and are used by attackers for sophisticated attacks.

He warned that this trend is likely to continue in the future. In a bid to stave off attacks in the year ahead, the company reiterated its tips to staying cyber-safe:

  • Pay close attention to and don’t open any suspicious files or attachments received from unknown sources
  • Do not download and install applications from untrusted sources
  • Do not click on any links received from unknown sources and suspicious online advertisements
  • Create strong passwords and don’t forget to change them regularly
  • Always install updates. Some of them may contain critical security issues fixes
  • Ignore messages asking to disable security systems for office software or antivirus software
  • Use a robust security solution appropriate to your system type and devices, such as Kaspersky Internet Security or Kaspersky Security Cloud

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