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Cybersecurity battleground shifting to Linux and web servers - report

05 Jul 2017

Network security solutions provider WatchGuard Technologies has announced the findings of its quarterly Internet Security Report, which explores the latest computer and network security threats affecting small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and distributed enterprises.

The report revealed that despite an overall drop in general malware detection for the quarter, Linux malware made up more than 36% of the top threats identified in Q1 2017.

This attack pattern demonstrates the urgent need for heightened security measures to protect Linux servers and Linux-dependent IoT devices.

“This new Firebox Feed data allows us to feel the pulse of the latest network attacks and malware trends in order to identify patterns that influence the constantly evolving threat landscape,” says Corey Nachreiner, WatchGuard Technologies chief technology officer.

“The Q1 report findings continue to reinforce the importance and effectiveness of basic security policies, layered defences and advanced malware prevention.”

WatchGuard’s Internet Security Report is based on anonymised Firebox Feed data from more than 26,500 active WatchGuard UTM appliances worldwide, designed to offer educational insights, research and security recommendations.

Key findings from the Q1 2017 report include:

  • Linux malware is on the rise, making up 36% of the top malware detected in Q1. The increased presence of Linux/Exploit, Linux/Downloader and Linux/Flooder combined to illustrate attackers’ increased focus on Linux servers and IoT devices. Users should protect IoT products and Linux servers from the internet with layered defences.
  • Legacy antivirus (AV) continues to miss new malware – at a higher rate. In fact, AV solutions missed 38 percent of the total threats WatchGuard caught in Q1, compared to 30% in Q4 2016. The growing number of new or zero-day malware now evading traditional AV highlights the weaknesses of signature-based detection solutions and the need for services that can detect and deter advanced persistent threats.
  • The cybersecurity battleground is shifting toward web servers. Last quarter, drive-by downloads and browser-based attacks were predominant. In Q1, 82 percent of the top network attacks targeted web servers (or other web-based services). Users should strengthen web server defences by hardening permissions, limiting resource exposure, and patching server software.
  • Attackers still exploit the Android StageFright flaw. This exploit first gained notoriety in 2015 and is proving its longevity as the first mobile-specific threat to hit WatchGuard Threat Lab’s top 10 attacks list this year. At a minimum, Android users should regularly upgrade their operating systems to prevent mobile attacks like StageFright.
  • Threat actors take a break from hacking the holidays. Overall, threat volume decreased 52% in Q1 2017 compared to Q4 2016. We believe the drop in malware detections can be attributed to the absence of seasonal malware campaigns associated with various Q4 holidays, which increased overall malware instances during that period.
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