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BlackBerry report reveals 40% surge in new malware used in cyberattacks

BlackBerry cybersecurity solutions detected and stopped 3.1 million cyberattacks (37,000 per day) in the first quarter of 2024, according to the company’s latest Global Threat Intelligence Report. Between January and March, BlackBerry detected 6,30,000 malicious hashes, representing a 40% increase from its previous reporting period.

As many as 60% of attacks targeting industry were directed at critical infrastructure, including government, healthcare, financial and communication industries, of which 40% targeted the financial sector.

“Novel malware is growing with no signs of stopping, and threat actors are highly motivated, be it for financial gain or to create chaos,” said Ismael Valenzuela, vice president of threat research and intelligence at BlackBerry. “In a year where over 50 countries are holding elections, geopolitical tensions are at an all-time high, and every nation will soon be fixated on the Olympic Games, the threat landscape can feel overwhelming to navigate.”

Highlights from the report include:

Attacks Based On Novel Malware Increased By 40% Per Minute: BlackBerry observed a 40% per-minute increase in novel hashes (unique malware), compared to the previous reporting period. This represented an average of 7,500 unique malware samples per day, or 5.2 per minute.

Commercial Enterprise Threats Rising: Of all threats, 36% targeted commercial enterprises (including retail, manufacturing, automotive and professional services), a 3% increase from the last reporting period. Yet, this sector saw a 10% jump in instances of new malware. Commercial enterprise remains a target for threat actors as they grow more sophisticated, often using social engineering to obtain account credentials and distribute malware.

CVEs Rapidly Weaponised In Malware, Especially Ransomware And Infostealers: Common vulnerabilities and exposures provide a framework for identifying, standardising and publicising known security vulnerabilities and exposures. Of the 8,900 CVEs reported during the period, 56% were given a severity score of seven out of a possible 10. This represents a 3% increase from the previous reporting period.

US Primary Target Of Cyberattacks: According to BlackBerry’s telemetry, 82% of cyberattacks targeted the US during this reporting period. Of those attacks, 54% contained unique (new) malware, which was previously not observed.

Prevailing Ransomware Groups: Globally, the top three ransomware groups active during this period were LockBit, Hunters International and 8Base.

According to BlackBerry, these threats will continue to be underpinned by a politically charged year globally, with disinformation and deepfake campaigns pervasive across social media. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the conflict in the Middle East and global elections will be the dominant variables in how threat actors select their targets and methodologies.

A rise in new ransomware and infostealers indicate that private data will continue to be highly sought after by threat actors, where sectors like healthcare and financial services will be top targets for attack, according to the report. NDTV Profit

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