PowerShell malware increased by almost 700% in Q1

Cyber security outfit McAfee observed a 689% increase in malware targeting the business task automation framework

The first quarter of 2020 saw a significant rise in malware targeting popular business task automation framework Powershell, with an increase of 689% in comparison to the previous quarter. 

According to a new report from McAfee Labs, the surge of PowerShell malware can be attributed to the Donoff family of TrojanDownloader, which is also responsible for the 412% increase in New Macro Malware during the first three months of 2020.

Overall, McAfee found that the PowerShell malware grew by a staggering 1,902% over the previous four quarters.

McAfee's newly-published “COVID-19 Threats Report”, which is based on a study monitoring coronavirus-related cyber crime, revealed that the security firm observed 375 new threats per minute during the first quarter.

McAfee fellow and chief scientist Raj Samani identified the “dominant themes of the 2020 threat landscape” as the cyber criminals' “quick adaptation to exploit the pandemic and the considerable impact cyber attacks have had”.

“What began as a trickle of phishing campaigns and the occasional malicious app quickly turned into a deluge of malicious URLs and capable threat actors leveraging the world’s thirst for more information on COVID-19 as an entry mechanism into systems across the globe,” he said.

According to the findings, threats targeting cloud services increased by 630%, concentrating largely on collaboration tools such as Microsoft 365, which experienced heightened popularity during the pandemic lockdown. 

Half of all publicly disclosed security incidents took place in North America, out of which 47% in the United States. Europe was a considerably less popular target, consisting of 9% of the incidents, according to the report.

Related Resource

Phishing and fraud report

Simple yet effective attacks you can’t afford to ignore

Download now

McAfee researchers found that cyber criminals often used coronavirus-related subjects such as testing, treatments, cures, and remote work topics to lure targets into clicking on a malicious link, downloading a file, or opening a PDF.

In order to track such attempts, McAfee Advanced Programs Group (APG) announced the availability of a COVID-19 Threat Dashboard, which shows the most common threats leveraging the pandemic, most often targeted countries.

Patrick Flynn, head of McAfee APG, said that “cybersecurity cannot be solved by cookie-cutter approaches”.

“Each organisation is unique and has specific intelligence requirements and objectives,” he said. “The McAfee COVID-19 Threat Dashboard utilises data to create true analysed intelligence, which allows users to understand the total threat environment, informing them of potential threats before they are weaponised.”

Featured Resources

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Evaluate your order-to-cash process

15 recommended metrics to benchmark your O2C operations

Download now

AI 360: Hold, fold, or double down?

How AI can benefit your business

Download now

Getting started with Azure Red Hat OpenShift

A developer’s guide to improving application building and deployment capabilities

Download now

Recommended

Android malware vendor teams with marketer to promote new malware
malware

Android malware vendor teams with marketer to promote new malware

11 Jan 2021
Python-based malware steals Outlook files and browser credentials
malware

Python-based malware steals Outlook files and browser credentials

15 Dec 2020
Subway UK customers targeted by Trickbot hackers
hacking

Subway UK customers targeted by Trickbot hackers

14 Dec 2020
Power banks could infect your smartphone with malware
malware

Power banks could infect your smartphone with malware

9 Dec 2020

Most Popular

Citrix buys Slack competitor Wrike in record $2.25bn deal
collaboration

Citrix buys Slack competitor Wrike in record $2.25bn deal

19 Jan 2021
How to recover deleted emails in Gmail
email delivery

How to recover deleted emails in Gmail

6 Jan 2021
SolarWinds hackers hit Malwarebytes through Microsoft exploit
hacking

SolarWinds hackers hit Malwarebytes through Microsoft exploit

20 Jan 2021