Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 12 July 2016 10:54

Gone phishing – I am an angler at heart

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Australia experienced about a quarter of a million ransomware attacks in April/May. Spam delivered most, and 95% were based on the Angler exploit.

Trend Micro found that Australia was one of the primary targets with more than 224, 000 ransomware attacks in the April/May period. Of these, more than 213, 000 used the Angler exploit kit.

The high volume of exploit kit ransomware attacks in Australia, second only to Japan in the same period, is due to a ransomware infection vector move toward URL and exploit kits.

Around the world, more than 66 million ransomware-related threats have been detected/blocked by Trend Micro from January to May of this year, with almost 700,000 of those in Australia and more than 19,000 in New Zealand.

Indi Siriniwasa, enterprise sales and channel director for Trend Micro Australia and New Zealand, said, “With the growing threat of ransomware attacks specifically aimed at Australian organisations, enterprises, and small businesses must be more vigilant than ever. The new ransomware families have sophisticated delivery and evasion techniques such as self-destructing after they complete their routine. The best way to defend against this sophistication is to use a multilayered security approach.”      

Tim Falinski, consumer director, Trend Micro Australia and New Zealand, said, “Australia has been targeted by cyber criminals with this Angler exploit kit, and it is Australian consumers that will suffer. Consumers should make themselves aware of the threats and ensure all their devices — from smartphones to PCs to connected smart devices  are protected.”

Trend Micro found:

  • 64% of ransomware threats were seen at the email layer. This is due to ransomware being largely distributed via spam, either as a macro or JavaScript attachment or via a clickable link in the message body.
  • 34% of ransomware-related threats are blocked in the URL layer. These URLs are usually compromised sites, malvertisements, or landing pages that host exploit kits leading to ransomware.
  • 2% of ransomware-related threats are ransomware detections blocked at the file layer.                    

From January to May 2016, Trend Micro has seen 50 new ransomware families. Of these, 19 ransomware families arrived via spam, while six of these new ransomware families arrived via exploit kits. All of these new families still encrypt files and drop ransom notes.

Most modern antivirus/malware programs like Trend Micro will protect against Angler exploits.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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