Australia sees significant reduction in malicious URLs as cybercriminals become more inventive
Australia was ranked sixth in the world for countries with the highest number of macro malware detections in Q2 2015, according to Trend Micro’s latest security roundup report released on the 19th of August, ‘A rising tide: new hacks threaten public technologies.’ The quarter also saw an increase in the number of malicious app downloads by Australian mobile device users.
These increases were noted as Australia saw a significant decrease in the number of malicious URLs clicked per country, down to nearly 19 million in Q2 2015 from more than 37 million in the previous quarter.
During the second quarter of 2015, cybercriminals became more inventive in their attack methods to infiltrate and abuse existing technologies that are often overlooked. The Trend Micro Q2 security roundup report analyses these developments and details the evolution of tools and methods attackers use to get the greatest return on every cybercrime investment.
“In the second quarter, we saw a shift in the threat landscape with cyber criminals becoming more sophisticated and creative, amplifying existing methods of attack, and using them in new ways,” said Dhanya Thakkar, managing director at Trend Micro Asia Pacific. “The ethereal outlook on the threat of cybercrime can no longer be held by the general population. This quarter demonstrated that the potential damage caused by cyber attacks extends far beyond a simple software bug to hacks of airplanes, smart cars and television stations.”
“Smartphones and mobile devices have become a vital part of our way of life but the continued rise in malicious app downloads by Australian users illustrates the high risks attached to them,” said Tim Falinski, director consumer at Trend Micro Australia and New Zealand. “Users need to be aware of the security risks and potential malicious apps. They should also keep their devices and apps updated in order to keep their mobile activity secure against mobile threats.”
Hackers are taking more strategic approaches, refining their methods and targeting more selective victims to improve their infection rates. This is reflected by the exponential increase in the use of several traditional attack methods, including a 50 percent increase in the integration of the Angler exploit kit across the globe, with Australia ranked third in the world for countries most affected by the Angler Exploit Kit, behind Japan and the U.S.
Q2 2015 also witnessed CryptoWall ransomware becoming highly targeted, with Australia ranked ninth in the world for countries where CryptoWall victims were located during June 2015. CryptoWall 3.0 and TorrentLocker were both observed in Australia.
Government entities, particularly in the U.S., have realised the full impact of cyberattacks during the second quarter with massive data breaches on both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in May and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) system in June. The OPM data breach was the largest of its kind to date, exposing personally identifiable information of approximately 21 million individuals.
Report highlights include:
- Hacks causing disruptions to public utilities
Broadcast networks, airplanes, automated vehicular systems and home routers pose not only the risk of malware infections, but physical inconveniences and threats.
- Lone wolf cybercriminals gain notoriety via successful ransomware and PoS attacks
FighterPoS, solo hackers “Lordfenix” and “Frapstar,” along with Hawkeye keylogger attacks, demonstrated that single individuals are capable of making a significant impact in today’s threat marketplace.
- Government entities fight back against cybercrime
Interpol, Europol, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI all played a role in taking down longstanding botnet operations. Additionally, the indictment of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht brought to light the nebulous nature and dangers of the Dark Web.
- National and political impacts were made by attacks on government organisations
The attack on OPM was a shocking realisation that no one’s personal data is safe. Macro malware and island-hopping were among the tactics used to target government data in this and similar breaches.
- Public-facing websites and mobile devices were threatened in new ways
While threats to software are always present, vulnerabilities in Web apps were proven to be just as dangerous. Attackers will leverage any vulnerability available and custom applications need custom security attention to ensure those entry points are eliminated.
For the complete report, please visit: http://www.trendmicro.com.au/vinfo/au/security/research-and-analysis/threat-reports/roundup/a-rising-tide-new-hacks-threaten-public-technologies
A blog post regarding the report can also be viewed here: http://blog.trendmicro.com/a-rising-tide-new-hacks-threaten-public-technologies/
About Trend Micro
Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in security software, strives to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Built on 26+ years of experience, our solutions for consumers, businesses and governments provide layered data security to protect information on mobile devices, endpoints, gateways, servers and the cloud. Trend Micro enables the smart protection of information, with innovative security technology that is simple to deploy and manage, and fits an evolving ecosystem. All of our solutions are powered by cloud-based global threat intelligence, the Trend Micro™Smart Protection Network™infrastructure, and are supported by more than 1,200 threat experts around the globe. For more information, visit TrendMicro.com.au.