Malware detections increased 62% in the first quarter of 2019 compared with the previous quarter, according to a an internet security report by WatchGuard Technologies. The report also highlights the fact that cyber criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated in their attack techniques, using new and varied methods that include malicious Microsoft Office documents, Mac OS malware and web application exploits.
The report is based on anonymised data from more than 42,000 Watchguard appliances around the world, which the company said have blocked more than 23,884,979 malware variants, at a rate of 564 samples blocked per device. Its findings show that hackers are taking well known attack methods such as credential theft and ransomware a notch higher by using fake office documents and other attack vectors, requiring organisations to tackle a larger variety of threats.
Another key finding of the report is that Mac OS malware on the rise. Mac malware first appeared on WatchGuard’s top 10 malware list in the third quarter of 2018, and now two variants have become prevalent enough to make the list in the first quarter of 2019, the report said. It added that this increase in Mac-based malware further debunks the myth that Macs are immune to viruses and malware and reinforces the importance of threat protection for all devices and systems.
The report also highlights a sharp rise in web application exploits. Despite a decrease in the overall volume of network attacks, Watchguard data shows that web application attacks grew significantly.