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Ransomware on the Rise – PandaLabs Quarterly Report

The second quarter of 2015 shows that there was an average of 230 000 new malware samples created daily, totaling 21 million from April to June. This is a 43% increase in comparison to the second quarter of 2014.

Trojans continue to be the most common type of malware and are the main source of infection, with 76.25% of users infected. This quarter also showed the proliferation of PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) which accounted for 14.39% of infections.

There has been a dramatic increase in ransomware over the last few months. What users don’t realise is that these kinds of attacks will continue to grow, as long as companies and consumers succumb to paying the ransom – this should be a last resort.



The Reality of Mac Viruses

For years, Mac users have been safe in the knowledge that their platform was relatively protected against malware. A combination of the lower number of users on the platform, less attention from security researchers and fewer exploited security holes in the operating system than Windows, has led to a generally virus and malware free experience. Windows also represents a far larger target than Mac for profit-seeking virus and malware authors, due to their greater market share.

But in quick succession, two new serious vulnerabilities have been discovered in Mac OS X.



5 Tips for More Secure Online Shopping

Over 100 000 stores worldwide use online credit card facilities as a method of payment. Cyber-criminals do not steal each individual’s details,  instead they  infect the most sensitive part of the system with malware, that is designed to collect payment data of the entire customer base. 

Far from wanting to make you fear shopping online, cases like this are used to point out the risks we face.

Below are some tips on how to avoid becoming the victim of a cyber-attack when using an e-commerce platform:



PandaLab’s Results for the First Quarter of 2015

PandaLabs published its Quarterly Report for Q1, analysing the IT security events and incidents from January through March 2015. The anti-malware laboratory detected over 225 000 new malware strains per day in the first quarter of the year, with peaks reaching 500 000This record-breaking figure represents a 40% increase over Q1 2014 and is well above the average for the entire year, which stood at approximately 205 000 new malware samples per day. Most of these specimens were variants of known malware, conveniently modified by virus writers to evade detection by antivirus laboratories. Trojans continued to be the most common threat type, representing 72.75% of all new malware and the main source of infections  at 76.05% of the total.

The first months of the year were dominated by ransomware attacks – especially CryptoLocker. Ransomware has become cyber-criminals’ preferred method to make money from companies’ stolen information. Ten companies in the oil and gas maritime transportation sector,  fell victim to this type of attack, as revealed by Panda Security in a report on a hacking campaign dubbed Operation Oil Tanker: The Phantom Menace which targeted oil tankers.



10 Tips for Protecting Your Privacy

          1. Go on a diet and forget about cookies

These tools which have installed themselves in our virtual lives, gather data about our habits (searches and pages visited) which is often used to design custom advertising. You can avoid them by using browsers in ‘incognito’ or ‘private’ mode. Other options include regularly clearing your browsing history and cookies or accepting an opt-out cookie which blocks future cookies from being installed on your browser by a particular website or advertiser. It essentially lets you declare that you do not wish to participate in targeted ad delivery, profiling or otherwise have your web browsing tracked. An opt-out cookie will only block cookies from a particular server and is not a generic tool to block cookies from any site you visit. However, you can manage cookies via your browser settings.

         2. Use a virtual private network

A Virtual Private Network more commonly known as a VPN, allows you to browse the internet securely, even when you are connected to a public network. Although they are often associated with illegal activities, there is nothing bad about them. On the contrary, it is highly advisable to use them when you do not have a secure connection.

         3. It does not matter where you took that picture

Sharing the “selfie” you have just taken on social networks could reveal a lot of data about the device you used and where you are. Perhaps the phone model or camera specifications are not very important, but it is a good idea to change the settings so that the exact coordinates of your location do not appear. Here you have to disable the GPS settings on the mobile phone camera.



PandaLabs Q3 Results: Trojans exceed PUPs in the third quarter

The results for the third quarter show that malware continues to break records, averaging at 227 747 new samples created daily.

The last four months has seen large high profile organisations fall victim to cyber-attacks; companies such as JP Morgan Chase, Target, Home Depot and online services such as Dropbox and iCloud.

The most recent victim is Sony. The hack on the company led to upcoming films and workers’ personal data, such as social security numbers and salaries being leaked online. The malware used in the attack was undetectable by industry standard antivirus software and was damaging and unique enough to cause the FBI to release a flash alert to warn other international organisations of the critical threat.

Trojans continue to be the most common malware during Q3, accounting for 75% of infections, compared to 62.80% in the previous quarter. PUPs ranked second, representing 14.55%of infections, decreasing since Q2. Adware/spyware comprises 6.88% of infections, worms at 2.09% and viruses at 1.48% – down since the second quarter.

The global infection rate increased from 36.87% in Q2 to 37.93% in Q3. The results for each country shows that China is still at the top, reaching an infection rate of 49.83%. China is followed by Peru at 42.38% and Bolivia at 42.12%.

Europe remains the region with the lowest infection rate, with nine European countries ranking in the top ten most secure countries.

The full report is available here.