Almost all malware arrives over HTTPS-encrypted connections

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Malware (opens in new tab) is getting sneakier with a majority of it (91.5%) arriving over encrypted HTTPS connections in Q2 2021, according to new report research.

The latest quarterly report from cybersecurity (opens in new tab) firm WatchGuard, based on anonymised data collected from its firewall (opens in new tab) appliances, found that although there’s been a slight dip in the number of malware attacks, an increasing number of threat actors have trained their focus on remote users (opens in new tab) working from home.

Pointing out the alarming change in the delivery mechanism of malware, the report argues that any organization that isn’t examining encrypted HTTPS traffic at the perimeter is missing 9/10 of all malware.

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“With much of the world still firmly operating in a mobile or hybrid workforce (opens in new tab) model, the traditional network perimeter doesn’t always factor into the cybersecurity defence equation,” said Corey Nachreiner, chief security officer at WatchGuard.

Harder to detect

In Q2 2021, WatchGuard says it blocked a total of more than 16.6 million malware variants (438 per device) and nearly 5.2 million network threats (137 per device).

Also, while zero-day malware that evades signature-based protections registered a drop of almost 10% in the quarter, they still account for two-thirds of all malware.

Sifting through the data, the researchers also found an alarming surge of fileless malware, as well as a dramatic growth in ransomware (opens in new tab).

“In the first half of 2021, our ransomware detections have fallen just short of 2020’s full year detections. If this trend continues without additional growth, the 2021 ransomware total will reach at least 150 percent of last year,” warn the researchers.

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.