Cybercriminals pivot to cryptomining, fileless malware – McAfee
Cybercriminals pivot to cryptomining, fileless malware – McAfee
Increasing cybersecurity threats linked to cybercriminals' ability to use open-source tools and shared, accumulated information within their community

MANILA, Philippines – Cybercriminals are taking advantage of innovations like fileless malware and cryptocurrency mining to spur the growth of new online threats, cybersecurity firm McAfee said in its latest McAfee Labs Threats Report. (READ: Cryptocurrency mining: What you need to know)

McAfee’s Threats Report reported double- and triple-digit percentage increases in certain sectors when it came to cyberattacks.

Fileless malware, specifically malware which took advantage of Microsoft’s Powershell scripting language, increased 267% in the fourth quarter of 2017. McAfee said attackers used powershell scripts within Microsoft Office files to execute an initial stage of cyberattacks.

Healthcare services, meanwhile, experienced a 211% increase in disclosed security incidents in 2017.

McAfee acknowledged existing warnings about the rise of cryptocurrency mining malware, as attackers now try to quietly steal a user’s computing power to make money by mining cryptocurrency like bitcoin or monero rather than by directly stealing a user’s information.

McAfee said new ransomware grew 35%, and 2017 ended with a 59% growth of ransomware attacks year over year. 

While new mobile malware decreased by 35%, most notably in terms of Android screenlocking ransomware, the cybersecurity firm added new Mac OS malware samples increased 24% in the fourth quarter, with the amount of total Mac operating system malware growing 58% in 2017.

One reason McAfee points out for the boom in new attacks of different types is the asymmetric nature of cybercrime as opposed to cybersecurity.

While cybercriminals can use open-source tools and the accumulated information of cybersecurity and cybercriminal enterprises to make better attacks, cybersecurity firms rely on knowledge-sharing and have a smaller amount of insight into the criminal workings of cyberattacks.

Raj Samani, McAfee Fellow and Chief Scientist, said cybersecurity groups can combat this by working together. “Collaboration and liberalized information-sharing to improve attack defenses remain critically important as defenders work to combat escalating asymmetrical cyberwarfare,” he explained.

The full McAfee Labs Threats Report can be accessed here. –

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