Mumbai, India, September 19, 2014: The second quarter of 2014 has witnessed an abnormal surge in malware samples (malicious software) used to disrupt computer operation across all platforms and this can be attributed to several deterrent causes. Quick Heal’s Threat Research Labs have witnessed a rise as high as 90% in the samples of malware where the cybercriminals and malicious software authors are constantly devising methods to penetrate home and enterprise networks.
Sanjay Katkar, Chief Technology Officer of Quick Technologies said, “One possible explanation for this spurt in malware threat can be the continued usage of Windows XP on several machines, months after Microsoft has removed all technical support for the operating system. Several users still continue to work on this OS which has now become the most targeted OS with no security patches available”.
Further More, This quarter, Quick Heal has identified an advanced software ‘ransomware’ that locks down a machine and takes control over it. Once it has locked a PC down, it demands a ‘ransom’. The malicious program claims that it would unlock the machine only upon the payment of said ransom and also threatens the victim by claiming to be from a higher authority. This induces a sense of panic which pushes the victim to actually make the payment hoping to free their ‘kidnapped’ machine.
Looking at higher dependability on mobile and online platforms, the second quarter of 2014 witnessed a humongous growth in the number of Android and Windows malware.
Key Findings of Quick Heal Quarterly Threat Report for Android:
- Quick Heal Labs witnessed a rise of more than 100% of malware in the samples that were collected from various sources.
- A new player has slowly started to move into the arena of the threat landscape. It is known as the hybrid malware family that infects Android phones via PCs.
- Mobile Adware was yet again the biggest malware threat as analyzed by Quick Heal in this quarter. Nearly 80% of the malware samples comprised adware that were designed to target Android.
- Fake, money-siphoning apps are no longer restricted to third-party app stores. They have started infiltrating the official Google Play market.
- Keyloggers have started proliferating in the Android playground. These are programs that record user keystrokes and use the recorded data for unscrupulous purposes.
- Android ransomware has started gaining a scary momentum. A heavy rise of this malware family is expected in the upcoming quarters.
Key Findings of Quick Heal Quarterly Threat Report for Windows:
- An advanced strain of the ransomware CryptoLocker called CryptoDefense was observed this quarter. This malware encrypts files on the victim’s system and demands a ransom of $500 (in Bitcoins).
- Use of botnets (a group of infected computers controlled by hackers) has increased drastically to target individual business and Government bodies.
- Point of Sale (PoS) malware attacks are increasing with a menacing pace. These malware target PoS machines which are used for transactions at retail outlets. An unforgettable example of this malware was the great Target hack that occurred last year.
- Malicious programs that steal Bitcoin currency from its rightful owners are increasingly being deployed with pirated and illicit software.
The month of July saw an abnormal increase in the number of malware strains for both Windows and Android, and this can be attributed to several hybrid and dual-natured threats that have begun surfacing. As always, Quick Heal recommends that all PC users and smartphone users make use of a fully updated security product to keep their devices secure against rapidly evolving security threats.
In this scenario, addressing computer security threats and strategizing for network threat protection, requires an understanding of the trends and patterns. As cybercrime and espionage adapt to new methods, these network threats don’t leave the users with the assumption that security could be a choice, it has become essential.