In the quarter between December 1, 2022, and February 28, 2023, there were three unique malware samples targeting businesses every two minutes, a new report from BlackBerry has found.
The company's latest Quarterly Global Threat Intelligence Report suggests that the number of unique malware samples, and through them the number of attacks against businesses worldwide, is on the rise. In the previous reporting period, there had been an average of one unique sample per minute, the company claims.
The bulk of these attacks - 60% of all the total - are targeting just three industries, BlackBerry adds. Those include businesses in the financial vertical, food retailers, and healthcare providers.
Healthcare in the crosshairs
The healthcare industry is particularly vulnerable, BlackBerry says. Its products stopped 5,246 unique malware variants from attacking firms in this industry, which were all going for organizations in the process of digital transformation. “Outdated and insecure infrastructure can create vulnerabilities in healthcare systems, while new technologies may introduce risks if not implemented with appropriate security measures,” the company claims.
The majority of the prevented attacks occurred in the United States, followed by Brazil, Canada, and Japan. Singapore has made it to the list this quarter, as well.
“The initial weeks of 2023 have indicated that this year will remain a difficult time for numerous organizations and individuals across the globe,” said Ismael Valenzuela, Vice President, Threat Research & Intelligence at BlackBerry. “With the Russia-Ukraine conflict evolving into a war of attrition, and with cyberattacks a well-documented component of the Russian military playbook, this is a trend that will continue over the coming quarter and likely far beyond.”
Commodity malware, often available either for free, or as a cheap, malware-as-a-service, remains prevalent, the report also claims, stating that the threat actors are “growing bolder” with using this form of malware. Finally, AI is being used more and more to automate attacks. With deepfakes and ChatGPT, IT and cybersecurity teams have their work cut out for them, BlackBerry concludes.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.