Mobile malware: Oft overlooked, but no less lethal

In May, WannaCry ransomware attack infected 300,000 machines crippling businesses in at least 150 countries. Adylkuzz, a cryptocurrency miner took advantage of the same Windows software vulnerability as WannaCry to mine for Monero cryptocurrency. While less disruptive than WannaCry, industry experts estimates greater potential dangers in Adylkuzz given its nature  as a malware where it lies in obscurity, silently infecting systems. Security experts anticipate new waves of attacks will persist.

In McAfee Labs Threats Report: June 2017, McAfee examines some of the  most powerful evasion techniques used my malware authors in the 30-year history of malwares. The report also reveals growth trends in malware, ransomware, and mobile malware, among other threats in Q12017.

Two important features of the report include:

  • Steganography–  the art and science of concealing a message. In a cybersecurity context, a secret (usually malicious) message (or malware), is hidden in a seemingly legitimate message (file). McAfee Labs sees network stenography as the newest form of concealment and this method is becoming increasingly popular, enabling attackers to send an unlimited amount of information through this technique.
  • Fareit– the infamous password stealer which first appeared in 2011 and has since evolved with enhanced architecture and novel ways to evade detection. Fareit  spreads through mechanisms such as phishing emails , DNS poisoning and exploit kits. Fareit is again in the spotlight, being suspected of being behind the high-profile Democratic National Congress breach during the 2016 US Presidential elections.

Other key findings from the report:

  • Mobile malware growth doubled in Asia,  contributing 57% increase in global infection rates
  • Total mobile malware grew 79% in the past four quarters to 16.7 million samples
    • Total Mac OS malware samples grew 53% in Q1 driven by adware glut
  • Total ransomware grew 59% in past four quarters to 9.6 million samples

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