Malware, short for malicious software, is any software used to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer
systems. Actually, 'Malware' is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs. It can take the form of executable code, scripts, active content, and other software. And in the last years has been exploding in the wild.
Take the last Office of Personnel Management hack that was discovered early this month and dates back to June or early July 2014. This hack affects most past and present federal employees of the US government, and the search to find out what happened is turning up increasingly unfortunate details. Reuters reports that the hackers used a rare type of malware called Sakula, which was also used in the health insurance company Anthem breach.
As ABC News reported last week and the Washington Post confirms, the breach actually occurred a year ago in June or July 2014, giving the hackers ample time to probe the network and collect data. And that’s all thanks to this tiny sophisticated piece of malware code.
The internet is a hotbed for malware. Just 2 days ago we were informed that Google discovered 588 pages at SourceForge, once king of software hosting, with malicious software. On the same day, Dell SecureWorks has discovered what researchers say could represent an emerging trend in malware: the use of digital steganography -- the "art of inconspicuously hiding data within data" -- to hide malicious code. The Stegoloader malware family first surfaced in 2013 but it didn’t make much noise back then. Fast forward two years and there are multiple variants of the malware that Dell said “stealthily steals” information from victim machines.
Every 4 Seconds New Malware Is Born
It’s easy to fill the page with a hundred stories about Malware occurring just in the last 2 days. And as a new report from last month shows’ that’s no wonder at all.
New research data out today shows that the rate of new malware variants released by malicious attackers continues to break records. According to the G DATA SecurityLabs Malware Report, new malware types were discovered less than every four seconds and 4.1 million new strains were found in the second half of 2014, an increase of close to 125 percent over the first half. Over the course of the entire year, nearly 6 million new malware strains were discovered. This is a 77 percent increase over 2013.
The data shows that in the second half of 2014, Trojans still remained atop the categories tracked by G DATA researchers, but could be on pace to be supplanted by adware. Adware showed the highest rate of growth among all of the malware categories, at a rate of 31.4 percent. While the number of new downloaders was on the rise during the second half, adware's growth rate outpaced that rise to take over the number two spot on the malware category chart. Meanwhile, spyware increased in prevalence while backdoors decreased, putting them in the number four and five spot, respectively.
What do you think is the best way to protect yourself against a new threat every 4 seconds?