The number of cyber incidents saw a 32% jump in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, according to a new report from Positive Technologies. According to the report, hackers are motivated by data theft, and malware attacks have spiked 75% since Q1 2017.
“Attackers are planning to either use these credentials in future attacks or profit by selling this information on the black market,” Leigh-Anne Galloway, cyber security resilience lead at Positive Technologies, said in today’s press release.
According to the report, individuals were the primary victims of malware, which was used in five out of six attacks, often in combination with social engineering and exploitation of web vulnerabilities.
Next to individuals, at 28%, government is the second-highest sector targeted by attacks, accounting for 16% of total attacks. Healthcare was at 8%, finance at 7% and IT at 5%.
Spyware, which grants an attacker access to sensitive internal information and allows hackers to collect personal data and account credentials, was the most commonly used type of malware. The report also noted the factors that contribute to an attacker successfully accessing sensitive information with malware, which include a lack of antivirus protection and end user error, such as clicking on malicious links and downloading infected files.
In addition, cryptocurrency miners, such as WannaMine and RubyMiner, were used in nearly one quarter (23%) of malware attacks. “Our research shows that 63% of attacks included use of malware. Spyware, in particular, is used most often because it allows obtaining not only personal information and corporate secrets but credentials for the services and systems needed to attack internal corporate infrastructure,” Galloway said.
Positive Technologies predicts that the unique number of cyber-attacks will continue to escalate, with attackers honing in to use existing attack vectors against government and finance targets. Phishing campaigns using SANNY spyware against government targets were often detected as the source of malware placed on government infrastructure.
Still, finance and banking are the most frequent victims of cyber-attacks.