Ransomware Dominates 18 Million New Q2 Malware Samples

Panda Security detected a staggering 18 million new malware samples in the second quarter, the majority of which were credential stealers and ransomware, it claimed in a new report.

The Spanish security vendor’s PandaLabs Report for the quarter revealed an average of 200,000 new threats were detected daily during the period, the majority of which were trojans.

The figure actually dropped from the 227,000 per day spotted in the previous quarter.

PandaLabs technical director, Luis Corrons, explained that the firm didn’t have a breakout of ransomware stats for the period.

However, as an indicator of the scale of the threat facing consumers and businesses he shared some unpublished data with Infosecurity that shows Panda Security has blocked over 3000 infection attempts relating to a single ransomware variant – Cerber – over the past three weeks alone.

That’s data from just one vendor dating back less than a month and relating to just one variant and one very specific attack methodology – in this case using Windows Management Instrumentation Command-line (WMIC) to try and bypass security filters.

The PandaLabs report illustrated the sheer variety of attack methods used by ransomware authors through several examples.

One of the more interesting was that of a Slovenian company which was contacted by Russian cyber-criminals claiming they had already compromised its network and had ransomware primed and ready to execute on all PCs.

“To prove that they had access to the company’s network, the culprits sent a file with a list of all devices connected to the company’s internal network,” the report explained.

This differs from most ransomware attacks, where all corporate data is encrypted first of all and then the victim has a set time period to pay up or lose access to the vital decryption key forever.

The quarter wasn’t all about ransomware, of course, and Panda Security also highlighted a surge in attacks against POS systems – mainly in the US – and banks.

The report also warned of a growing trend towards security breaches in the Internet of Things and mobile devices.

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