More cybercriminals are customizing their malware to attack virtual machines (opens in new tab) and other virtualized resources, new research has found.
The Cybersecurity (opens in new tab) Threatscape Q1 2021 report from Positive Technologies revealed that the number of cyberattacks increased by 17% compared to Q1 2020.
Interestingly, it added that 77% of the total incidents in Q1 2021 were targeted attacks and involved malware (opens in new tab) geared for attacking virtual infrastructure.
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“Attackers carefully monitor information about new vulnerabilities and try to find a use for these in their attacks as soon as possible. In early 2021, Positive Technologies researchers helped eliminate several critical vulnerabilities (opens in new tab) in VMware products, including in vCenter Server, which allowed remote code execution,” said Dmitry Serebryannikov, Director of Security Analysis, Positive Technologies.
Serebryannikov adds that even after the vulnerability was patched, security researchers noticed threat actors were continuing to scan the Internet for vulnerable hosts.
The rise of ransomware
Perhaps unsurprisingly, ransomware (opens in new tab) emerged as the malware that is most often used by attackers, accounting for nearly two-thirds (63%) of all malware attacks.
The report notes that in addition to demanding “astronomical” ransoms in Q1 2021, the ransomware operators also refined the tools in their arsenal, most notably coding in new ways to veil them from security tools.
The number of attacks towards IT companies remained consistently high for the second quarter in a row, the report finds, in order to steal customer data or launch further attacks on their customers.
However, it was Governmental institutions that once again topped the rankings for being the most popular target.
The widely reported ProxyLogin vulnerabilities (opens in new tab) in Microsoft Exchange emerged as the most popular vulnerability this quarter. Also noteworthy was the use of a zero-day vulnerability in SonicWall’s VPN (opens in new tab) solutions that threat actors used not just to break into the company, but also to launch attacks on its customers.
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