According to a recently released report by security firm PandaLabs, malware creation has been growing at an unprecedented rate, with Trojans remaining the most popular form of malware. The global infection ratio has also been increasing, rising to almost 38 percent in the third quarter of 2014.
Twenty million new malware strains were created in just the third quarter of this year alone. That means more than 227,700 samples were created every day during that time. According to the study, nearly 78 percent of the malware samples created last quarter were Trojans. Viruses came in a distant second, accounting for just 8.8 percent of malware strains. While the high volume of Trojans is alarming, it is not surprising. Trojans encompass a variety of different attacks, including backdoors, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, infostealers and malware downloaders.
The amount of infections caused by Trojans has also increased, rising 13 percent from the second quarter of 2014. Potentially Unwanted Programs were the second most common reason for infection, compromising 14.5 percent of the total.
“In these last months we have seen how cyber-crime has continued to grow,” said Luis Corrons, technical director at PandaLabs. “Criminals haven’t ceased to create malware in order to infect as many systems as possible so as to access sensitive or confidential information.”
Computer malware not the only growing risk
Mobile malware has also seen a dramatic increase recently. More than 175,400 new, unique malicious programs were discovered in the first half of this year for Android operating systems alone, according to a report Kaspersky Labs released in October. Machines running an Android OS account for 85 percent of all mobile devices, making the platform a major target for malware creators and cybercriminals. In just the first six months of 2014, malicious programs aimed at Android are 18.3 percent higher than they were in all of 2013.
Just like with other platforms for malware, Trojans are also the biggest threat to mobile devices. The attack can be disguised as a legitimate update or application, making it easier and faster to complete the infection process. According to the Kaspersky report, the most common cause of infection for Android devices is installing applications that come from unofficial, third-party stores, as they commonly host malicious software. The number of modifications for mobile banking Trojans present now is 14 times the amount that was available 12 months ago.
Protecting against cyber threats
In a recent Trend Micro white paper entitled “Backdoor Use in Targeted Attacks,” researchers Dove Chiu, Shih-Hao Weng and Joseph Chiu explained that IT administrators will always be at a disadvantage compared to the cybercriminals attempting to steal sensitive information stored within company networks. Because there are so many varieties of Trojans and backdoor attacks, it is important for enterprise decision-makers to be knowledgeable about the threats facing their organization in order to deploy the best form of threat protection for them. Security techniques like email and mobile security are reliable methods for keeping privileged data safe from hackers, but each situation is unique and requires a custom defense solution.