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Businesses See 106 Unknown Malware Attacks Per Hour

It may be accepted knowledge that both known and unknown malware is increasing exponentially, but a recent report put a quantifiable wrapper around the statement: About 106 unknown malware types hit an average organization every hour last year, showing a drastic increase in just 12 months.

According to Check Point’s 2015 Security Report, 2014 saw 48 times more malware attacks than the 2.2 downloads per hour reported in 2013. Adobe seems to be the preferred vector: The report showed that 52% of the files infected with unknown malware were PDFs, while just 3% were Microsoft Office files. 

Bots have been amplifying and accelerating the spread of malware, and are one of the contributing factors to the spike. A full 83% of organizations studied were infected with bots in 2014, up from 73% in 2013, communicating and sharing data with their command and control servers every minute on average. 

About half (47%) of those bots were active for more than 4 weeks, leading to untold amounts of data exfiltration. No wonder that 81% of the organizations analyzed suffered a data loss incident, up from 41% in 2013.

The report also took a look at insider threats and bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and current and past employee actions have a lot to do with malware success. The rise of BYOD has provided easier access to more organizational assets than any other intrusion point.

In 2014, 42% of businesses suffered mobile security incidents costing more than $250,000 to remediate. Almost three-quarters (72%) of IT providers agreed that their top mobile security challenge is securing corporate information, and 67% said their second biggest challenge is managing personal devices storing both corporate and personal data.

Related to this, the Check Point report looked at four main categories of risky ‘shadow IT’ applications:  remote admin tools (RATs), file storage and sharing, peer-2-peer (P2P) file sharing and anonymizers. Research revealed that risk is nearly ubiquitous: 96% of organizations studied used at least one high-risk application in 2014, a 10% increase from the previous year. On average, 12.7 high-risk application events happen every hour.

“Today’s cyber-criminals are sophisticated and ruthless: They prey on the weaknesses in a network, approaching any security layer as an open invitation to try to hack it,” said Amnon Bar-Lev, president of Check Point. “In order to protect themselves against attacks, security professionals and organizations alike must understand the nature of the latest exploits and how their networks are potentially impacted. Only by arming themselves with a combination of knowledge and strong security solutions can they truly protect themselves against these evolving threats. By making that security a critical asset to your business, you can turn security into an enabler. And in doing so, you’re able to unlock innovation and foster an environment for high performance and productivity.”

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