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August's top malware: Emotet knocked off top spot

FormBook is now the most prevalent malware, taking over from Emotet, which has held that position since its reappearance in January, according to Check Point Research's latest Global Threat Index for August 2022.

FormBook is an Infostealer targeting Windows OS which, once deployed, can harvest credentials, collect screenshots, monitor and log keystrokes as well as download and execute files according to its command and control (C&C) orders. Since it was first spotted in 2016, it has continued to make a name for itself, marketed as a Malware as a Service (MaaS) in underground hacking forums, known for its strong evasion techniques and relatively low price.

August also saw a rapid increase in GuLoader activity, which resulted in it being the fourth most widespread malware. GuLoader was initially used to download Parallax RAT but has since been applied to other remote access trojans and infostealers such as Netwire, FormBook and Agent Tesla. It is commonly distributed through extensive email phishing campaigns, that lure the victim into downloading and opening a malicious file, allowing the malware to get to work.

Additionally, Check Point Research reports that Joker, an Android spyware, is back in business and has claimed third place in the top mobile malware list this month. Once Joker is installed, it can steal SMS messages, contact lists and device information as well as sign the victim up for paid premium services without their consent. Its rise can partially be explained by an uplift in campaigns as it was recently spotted to be active in some Google Play Store applications.

"The shifts that we see in this months index, from Emotet dropping from first to fifth place to Joker becoming the third most prevalent mobile malware, is reflective of how fast the threat landscape can change," says Maya Horowitz, VP Research at Check Point Software. 

"This should be a reminder to individuals and companies alike, of the importance of keeping up to date with the most recent threats as knowing how to protect yourself is essential. Threat actors are constantly evolving and the emergence of FormBook shows that we can never be complacent about security and must adopt a holistic, prevention-first approach across networks, endpoints and the cloud."

CPR also revealed this month that the Education/Research sector is still the most targeted industry by cybercriminals globally. With Government/Military and Healthcare taking second and third place as the most attacked sectors. Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution returns to first place as the most exploited vulnerability, impacting 44% of organisations worldwide, after overtaking Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure which had an impact of 42%.

Top malware families in Australia

FormBook is the most widespread malware this month impacting 5.10% of organisations worldwide and 4.03% of organisations in Australia, followed by Emotet with an impact of 2.10% of organisations globally, 2.02% in Australia, and XMRig with 2.10% impact globally and 0.90% in Australia.

FormBook is an Infostealer targeting Windows OS and was first detected in 2016. It is marketed as a Malware as a Service (MaaS) in underground hacking forums for its strong evasion techniques and relatively low price. FormBook harvests credentials from various web browsers, collects screenshots, monitors and logs keystrokes and can download and execute files according to orders from its C&C.

Emotet is an advanced, self-propagating and modular Trojan. Emotet was once used as a banking Trojan, but recently is used as a distributer to other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can be spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links. 

XMRig is open-source CPU software used to mine Monero cryptocurrency. Threat actors often abuse this open-source software by integrating it into their malware to conduct illegal mining on victims devices.

Top malware families in New Zealand

Emotet surged in New Zealand, taking the spot for the most widespread malware in July, impacting 2.61% of NZ organisations as well as 2.10% of organisations worldwide. This is followed by XMRig with 2.10% impact globally and 1.12% in New Zealand  and Remcos with 1.12% impact in New Zealand and 1.00% impact for global organisations.

Emotet is an advanced, self-propagating and modular Trojan. Emotet was once used as a banking Trojan, but recently is used as a distributer to other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can be spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links. 

XMRig is open-source CPU software used to mine Monero cryptocurrency. Threat actors often abuse this open-source software by integrating it into their malware to conduct illegal mining on victims devices.

Remcos is a RAT that first appeared in the wild in 2016. Remcos distributes itself through malicious Microsoft Office documents, which are attached to SPAM emails, and is designed to bypass Microsoft Windowss UAC security and execute malware with high-level privileges.

Top Attacked Industries in Australia 

This month the Education/Research sector remained in first place as the most attacked industry in Australia, followed by Government/Military and Insurance/Legal.

Top Exploited Vulnerabilities 

This month, Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution is the most common exploited vulnerability, impacting 44% of organisations globally, followed by Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure which dropped from first place to second with an impact of 42%. Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal remains in the third place, with a global impact of 39%.

Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution (CVE-2021-44228) - A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Apache Log4j. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the affected system.

Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure - An information disclosure vulnerability has been reported in Git Repository. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow unintentional disclosure of account information.

Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal - There exists a directory traversal vulnerability on different web servers. The vulnerability is due to an input validation error in a web server that does not properly sanitise the URI for the directory traversal patterns. Successful exploitation allows unauthenticated remote attackers to disclose or access arbitrary files on the vulnerable server.

Top Mobile Malwares 

This month AlienBot is the most prevalent Mobile malware, followed by Anubis and Joker.

AlienBot is a banking Trojan for Android, sold underground as a Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS). It supports keylogging, dynamic overlays for credentials theft, as well as SMS harvesting for 2FA bypass. Additional remote control capabilities are provided by using a TeamViewer module.

Anubis is a banking Trojan malware designed for Android mobile phones. Since it was initially detected, it has gained additional functions including Remote Access Trojan (RAT) functionality, keylogger and audio recording capabilities as well as various ransomware features. It has been detected on hundreds of different applications available in the Google Store.

Joker is an Android Spyware in Google Play, designed to steal SMS messages, contact lists and device information. Furthermore, the malware can also sign the victim up for paid premium services without their consent or knowledge.

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