According to a recent report, analysts discovered a record-breaking 4.1 million new malware threats in the second half of 2014.
Researchers at German antivirus firm G DATA revealed that the 77 percent spike from 2013 resulted in nearly six million new malware strains identified last year alone. “Statistically, a new malware type was discovered every 3.75 seconds in [the second half of last year],” read the G DATA SecurityLabs Malware Report (PDF). Furthermore, analysts noted that although new signature variants were recorded in almost every malware category, some sectors increased significantly more than others, including adware and rootkits. “One trend that is set to continue and even gather speed is the bundling of legitimate software with potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) from third party providers,” researchers said. In addition, Trojans and downloaders remained among the top of malware categories – both nearly doubling in the second half of 2014.
Interestingly enough, however, researchers pointed out that the market for banking Trojans might have consolidated, as there were no apparent innovations compared to previous years. “In the past, more and more new Trojans have been appearing very quickly in this sector over the years, with new groups in the background using new attack methods. However, in recent months there have been few changes to report,” said the study. A valid reason for this noteworthy change, the researchers believe, may be the improvement of security measures put in place by financial organizations in the field of online banking throughout recent years. The sharpening of these security measures can sometimes be clearly seen, said the researches, such as two-factor authentication, while others are invisible to attackers like the use of algorithms to detect anomalies.
“There is an increased level of risk for the criminals for a greater amount of effort and lower yield.”
Nonetheless, researchers warned this doesn’t mean the risk for consumers has reduced, noting U.S. bank customers continue to be the main target.