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Emotet remains leading malware in global threat index

By Shannon Williams
Mon 11 Jan 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Emotet trojan has returned to first place in the latest Global Threat Index for December 2020 for malware, according to Check Point Research. 

The malware has impacted 7% of organisations globally, following a spam campaign which targeted more than 100,000 users per day during the holiday season.

In September and October 2020, Emotet was consistently at the top of the Global Threat Index, and was linked to a wave of ransomware attacks, Check Point Research says.

But in November it was much less prevalent, dropping to 5th place in the Index. Researchers state that it has now been updated with new malicious payloads and improved detection evasion capabilities: the latest version creates a dialogue box, which helps it evade detection by users. Emotet's new malicious spam campaign uses different delivery techniques to spread Emotet, including embedded links, document attachments, or password-protected Zip files.

First identified in 2014, Emotet has been regularly updated by its developers to maintain its effectiveness for malicious activity. The Department of Homeland Security has estimated that each incident involving Emotet costs organisations upwards of $1 million dollars to rectify.

"Emotet was originally developed as banking malware which sneaked on to computers to steal private and sensitive information. However, it has evolved over time and is now seen as one of the most costly and destructive malware variants," says Maya Horowitz, director, threat intelligence & research, products at Check Point. 

"It's imperative that organisations are aware of the threat Emotet poses and that they have robust security systems in place to prevent a significant breach of their data. They should also provide comprehensive training for employees, so they are able to identify the types of malicious emails which spread Emotet."

The research team also warns that "MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution" is the most common exploited vulnerability, impacting 42% of organisations globally, followed by "HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution (CVE-2020-13756)" which impact 42% of organisations worldwide.

Top malware families

This Month, Emotet remains the most popular malware with a global impact of 7% of organisations, closely followed by Trickbot and Formbook – which impacted 4% of organisations worldwide, each.

1.Emotet – Emotet is an advanced, self-propagate and modular Trojan. Emotet once used to employ as a banking Trojan, and recently is used as a distributer to other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and Evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can be spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links.

2. Trickbot - Trickbot is a dominant banking Trojan constantly being updated with new capabilities, features and distribution vectors. This enables Trickbot to be a flexible and customisable malware that can be distributed as part of multi purposed campaigns.

3. Formbook - Formbook is an Info Stealer that harvests credentials from various web browsers, collects screenshots, monitors and logs keystrokes, and can download and execute files according to its C&C orders.

Top exploited vulnerabilities

This month "MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution" is the most common exploited vulnerability, impacting 42% of organisations globally, followed by "HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution (CVE-2020-13756)" which impact 42% of organisations worldwide. "Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure" is on the third place in the top exploited vulnerabilities list, with a global impact of 41%.

1. MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution - remote code execution vulnerability exists in MVPower DVR devices. A remote attacker can exploit this weakness to execute arbitrary code in the affected router via a crafted request.

2. HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution (CVE-2020-13756) - HTTP headers let the client and the server pass additional information with an HTTP request. A remote attacker may use a vulnerable HTTP Header to run arbitrary code on the victim machine.

3. Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure - information disclosure vulnerability has been reported in Git Repository. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an unintentional disclosure of account information.

Top mobile malware

This month, Hiddad holds 1st place in the most prevalent mobile malware, followed by xHelper and Triada.

Hiddad - Hiddad is an Android malware which repackages legitimate apps and then releases them to a third-party store. Its main function is to display ads, but it can also gain access to key security details built into the OS.
xHelper - A malicious application seen in the wild since March 2019, used for downloading other malicious apps and display advertisement. The application is capable of hiding itself from the user and reinstall itself in case it was uninstalled.
Triada - Modular Backdoor for Android which grants superuser privileges to downloaded malware.
 

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