Story image

APAC malware and botnet threats charge ahead rest of the world

31 Oct 2016

Fortinet's latest quarterly threat intelligence report has painted a picture of global trends in the cybersecurity sector, showing that malware and botnet threats in the Asia Pacific region are charging ahead more than anywhere else in the world.

Fortinet believes this may connect with the finding that the region is also ranked first in the number of malicious websites visited per day, and the global statistics aren't much better.

The Fortinet Cyber Threat Assessment Program (CTAP) found more than 185 million threat events and incidents, what it's calling 'unprecedented' attack volumes. These threats are escaping traditional perimeter security defences and landing on Fortinet's internal threat testing network.

The report also found that email-based threats continue to be effective means of delivering malicious material, but hijacked websites were the second most common form of attack. More than half of respondents detected malicious websites, which Fortinet says is a sure sign that organisations need detection and blocking protection.

In Australia and New Zealand, the report found that the Nemucod ransomware family was widely targeting the healthcare sector because of its vulnerable nature. Nemucod has been responsible for crippling several healthcare providers' networks in the past year alone and successfully received ransom demands.

Overall, the Asia Pacific region fared worst in the amount of detected botnets and malware, which may have some connection with the number of websites visited per day.

North America is the most vulnerable, with more than 40,000 application vulnerability attacks per day. LATAM's use of peer-to-peer applications contributed to a rise in the H-worm botnet attack. The Conficker worm is the most concerning problem in EMEA.

Remote access policies also contributing to data leakage, particularly in the healthcare industry where patient data and records are at risk, the report found. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and TeamViewer account for 25% of remote traffic, as well as general purpose applications such as Dropbox.

Internet browsers are also increasingly at risk, particularly as exploit kits targeting browsers are also on the rise.

In terms of industry sectors, Fortinet states that attackers are using different approaches, depending on market segments of targeted organisations.

The education and retail industries are also being targeted by more variations in cyberattacks because of their less secure networks. Fortinet also found that social media networks used by students also pose security risks through links associated with those platforms.

Globally, the tech sector is seeing an increase in the number of attacks against common enterprise software packages, such as those from Microsoft and Adobe.

The financial industry is bearing the brunt of the ransomware trend, including new and old attacks that have been modified to avoid detection. The healthcare industry has also been struck mainly by the Heartbleed vulnerability, DDoS attacks and code execution malware.

The education sector is being targeted through open source vulnerabilities, application and client-based attacks, suggesting that patching isn't a high priority, Fortinet states. 

Machine learning is a tool and the bad guys are using it
KPMG NZ’s CIO and ESET’s CTO spoke at a recent cybersecurity conference about how machine learning and data analytics are not to be feared, but used.
Seagate: Data trends, opportunities, and challenges at the edge
The development of edge technology and the rise of big data have brought many opportunities for data infrastructure companies to the fore.
Popular Android apps track users and violate Google's policies
Google has reportedly taken action against some of the violators.
How blockchain could help stop video piracy in its tracks
An Australian video tech firm has successfully tested a blockchain trial that could end up being a welcome relief for video creators and the fight against video piracy.
IBM X-Force Red & Qualys introduce automated patching
IBM X-Force Red and Qualys are declaring a war on unpatched systems, and they believe automation is the answer.
Micro Focus acquires Interset to improve predictive analytics
Interset utilises user and entity behavioural analytics (UEBA) and machine learning to give security professionals what they need to execute threat detection analysis.
Raising the stakes: McAfee’s predictions for cybersecurity
Security teams and solutions will have to contend with synergistic threats, increasingly backed by artificial intelligence to avoid detection.
Exclusive: Ping Identity on security risk mitigation
“Effective security controls are measured and defined by the direct mitigation of inherent and residual risk.”