Conficker, back from the undead, dominates malware threat landscape

Look out, ransomware is coming up on the rails

Conficker was the most common malware used to attack UK and international organisations in October, accounting for 20 per cent of all attacks globally, according to security vendor Check Point.

When it first appeared in November 2008, the Windows-affecting Conficker worm caused all manner of problems mainly because of its ability to spread across networks, infect windows machines and brute force passwords.

Networks of the French Navy, the UK House of Commons and Greater Manchester Police were all laid low by the malware. Its recent resurgence hasn’t caused anything like the same amounts of problems but still highlights the generally poor state of corporate security.

The return of the worm has seen the reported infection of police body cameras. Cameras from supplier Martel Electronics came pre-infected with the malware, according to researchers at Florida-based iPower.

Globally, three malware families (Conflicker, Sality and Cutwail) accounted for 40 per cent of all recorded attacks, revealing a trend for attacks focusing on gaining remote control of infected PCs, turning Windows machines into DDoS and spam-spewing botnet drones. Sality was first spotted in 2010 and Cutwail in 2007.

The latest monthly stats from Check Point further reveal that the Neutrino Exploit kit had become the fourth most common malware detected globally in October. The exploit kit can be used to attack computers using Java, and is associated with ransomware scams.

Ransomware and data-stealing malware attacks more generally rose sharply in October, according to Check Point. The Fareit malware, which steals users’ credentials from web browsers and emails, jumped from from a lowly position to become one of the top 10 strains in October, for example.

Check Point’s stats are pulled from its Threat Cloud World Cyber Threat Map. ®

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