Security

Banking trojans, not ransomware, are the biggest threat to the enterprise now

The first months of 2018 saw more cyberattacks using Trojans and social engineering, according to Proofpoint. Here's how to protect your organization.

In Q1 2018, banking Trojans officially displaced ransomware as the top malware threat found in email for the first time in almost two years, according to a Wednesday report from security firm Proofpoint.

Massive ransomware attacks may be on the decline, but the cyberthreat landscape grew even more diverse in the first months of 2018, the report found. Banking Trojans accounted for nearly 59% of all malicious email payloads in Q1, followed by credential stealers (19%) and downloaders (18%). Emotet was the most widely distributed banking Trojan, accounting for 57% of all bankers and 33% of all malicious payloads, according to the report.

Email fraud is also on the rise across the globe. Some 90% of businesses were targeted in Q1, and, on average, each received 28 email fraud attacks—up 36% from the previous quarter, the report found. If successful, these attacks can result in direct losses of tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for businesses, the report noted.

SEE: Incident response policy (Tech Pro Research)

No clear correlation exists between company size and the likelihood of getting hit by an email fraud attack, the report found. Larger organizations may have more money at risk and more individual targets, but smaller companies that lack security resources may be more vulnerable—making both attractive targets for attackers, the report noted.

Some 40% of organizations that experienced email fraud attacks in Q1 2018 saw between 10 and 50 attacks, the report found—an increase of nearly 18%. The number of organizations targeted in more than 50 attacks rose 20% over Q4 2017.

Exploit kit traffic declined 71% from Q4 2017 to Q1 2018, the report found. However, the threat is not gone: About 95% of web-based attacks now redirect into social engineering schemes instead. Social media support fraud—also known as angler phishing—exploded in Q1, increasing 200% over the previous quarter.

To keep your business safe in the coming year, you should consider implementing strong security solutions as well as employee cybersecurity training—a must, especially as social engineering attacks grow more numerous and convincing.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:
  • Banking Trojans accounted for nearly 59% of all malicious email payloads in Q1 2018, outpacing ransomware. — Proofpoint, 2018
  • 90% of businesses were targeted by email fraud campaigns in Q1 2018, and, on average, each received 28 such attacks. — Proofpoint, 2018

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Image: iStockphoto/the-lightwriter

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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