New Ransomware Grew 26% QoQ in Q4 2015: McAfee

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 31, 2016


Intel Security has released its McAfee Labs Threats Report: March 2016, which reveals that new ransomware regained its rapid growth rate, with a 26 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in Q4 2015.

As per the findings of the survey, open-source ransomware code and ransomware-as-a-service continue to make it simpler to launch attacks, the Teslacrypt and CryptoWall 3 campaigns continue to extend their reach, and ransomware campaigns continue to be financially lucrative.

The report stated that the fourth quarter of 2015 saw a 72 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in new mobile malware samples, as malware authors appear to have produced new malware faster.

According to the survey, the number of new malicious signed binaries has dropped each quarter for the past year, in Q4 2015 reaching the lowest level since Q2 2013. McAfee Labs believes the decline can be attributed in part to older certificates with significant presence in the dark market are either expiring or being revoked as businesses migrate to stronger hashing functions.

The McAfee Labs Threats Report: March 2016 also assesses the attitudes of 500 cybersecurity professionals toward cyber threat intelligence (CTI) sharing, examines the inner workings of the Adwind* remote administration tool (RAT), and details surges in ransomware, mobile malware, and overall malware in Q4 2015.

Of the 42 percent of respondents who report using shared threat intelligence, 97 percent believe that it enables them to provide better protection for their company. Of those participating respondents, 59 percent find such sharing to be “very valuable” to their organizations, while 38 percent find sharing to be “somewhat valuable.”

A near unanimous 91 percent of respondents voice interest in industry-specific cyber threat intelligence, with 54 percent responding “very interested” and 37 percent responding “somewhat interested.” Sectors such as financial services and critical infrastructure stand to benefit most from such industry-specific CTI given the highly specialized nature of threats McAfee Labs has monitored in these two mission-critical industries.

Sixty-three percent of respondents indicate they may be willing to go beyond just receiving shared CTI to actually contributing their own data, as long as it can be shared within a secure and private platform. However, the idea of sharing their own information is met with varying degrees of enthusiasm, with 24 percent responding they are “very likely” to share while 39 percent are “somewhat likely” to share.

Respondents say behavior of malware (72 percent), followed by URL reputations (58 percent), external IP address reputations (54 percent), certificate reputations (43 percent), and file reputations (37 percent).

54 percent of respondents identify corporate policy as the reason, followed by industry regulations (24 percent). The remainder of respondents whose organizations do not share data report being interested but need more information (24 percent), or are concerned shared data would be linked back to their firms or themselves as individuals (21 percent). These findings suggest a lack of experience with, or knowledge of, the varieties of CTI integration options available to the industry, as well as a lack of understanding of the legal implications of sharing CTI.