WannaCry is still alive and well, with 57,000 detections in April 2018 alone, according to Trend Micro.
“WannaCry still towers over other ransomware families, and is leading the pack globally,” said Russell Young, Trend Micro, Tech Lead – Sub-Sahara, speaking at the Trend Micro Q2 Security Round-Up.
Trend Micro has tracked WannaCry since its emergence in April 2017, offering XGen security to protect users from this and other threats using techniques like behavioural analysis and high-fidelity machine learning.
In the sub-Saharan region, South Africa is the most heavily-hit by ransomware attacks, making up over 20% of malicious threats in the country.
Ransomware – Declining yet diversifying
Ransomware has begun declining, however, after reaching a plateau during 2017.
“In the first part of this year, we saw a decline in the total number of ransomware threats, and the threats for Q1 making up just 10% of 2017’s quarterly average,” said Young.
Ransomware families continue to grow, though, and Trend Micro detected 27 new ransomware families in April 2018 – a 59% increase compared to March 2018.
“There has been a 32% increase in the number of ransomware families in 2017 compared to 2016, and the growth continues this year,” said Young. Ransomware families have moved up 33% from the last quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018.
“Despite the decline of ransomware threats, we see it diversifying – with one family even exhibiting a coin-mining function towards the latter part of 2017,” said Young. “We now see cybercriminals targeting machines’ computing powers to obtain cryptocurrencies surreptitiously.”
Ransomware’s diminishing focus on mobile devices
Ransomware’s focus on mobile devices is dwindling, according to research by Trend Micro, with total mobile ransomware detections consistently declining from 2017 and into the first quarter of 2018.
“Comparing the first quarter of 2017 to that of this year’s first quarter detections, the number of ransomware attacks on mobile devices has dropped a whopping 86%,” said Young.
“Even the number of unique mobile ransomware samples have gone down this year. For Q1 2018, there are 40,174 new samples found, which went down from the previous quarter’s 166,819 unique samples.”
A few factors may contribute to this, said Young said. Many ransomware samples may not work on newer Android versions, and newer mobile operating systems are better at protecting mobile devices. Cybercriminals are also turning their attention to other emerging threats like cryptocurrency mining.
BEC’s continuous growth
As ransomware declines, business email compromise (BEC) is on the rise, according to Young. The data shows that the number of BEC scams increased 106% from the first half of the year to the second.
“This growth continues in 2018, reaching nearly 4,000 scams in the first quarter alone,” said Young. “So far, for 2018, we continuously see almost 1,000 BEC scams per month.”
For more information, visit the Trend Micro website.
This article was published in partnership with Trend Micro.