Even ransomware stops for Christmas


An 81 percent drop recorded in Locky ransomware infections in December is thought to be down to the cyber criminals behind the malware taking a Christmas break.

Threat prevention company Check Point recorded the big drop in Locky infections as part of an eight percent overall decrease in the number of recognized malware attacks on organizations in December.

December saw ransomware purveyors getting into the festive spirit by offering a discount, but it seems they like to take a break over the holiday too. Check Point recorded a similar decrease last December with nine percent fewer attacks than in previous months — with numbers returning to normal levels in January.

“The massive decrease in Locky attacks during December is part of a wider trend which saw malware attacks decrease by around eight percent compared to the previous months,” Nathan Shuchami, head of threat prevention at Check Point says. “Organizations should be under no illusions — this is not a reason to rest on their laurels. The most likely cause genuinely is that cyber criminals have opted to take a Christmas holiday too — perhaps to spend some of the fruits of their labours. Ransomware remains a threat that businesses need to take seriously into 2017”.

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The research also shows that Conficker remained the most prevalent malware type, accounting for 10 percent of all known attacks during the period. It was followed by Nemucod in second place with five percent, and Slammer with four percent of the recognized attacks. Overall, the top ten malware families were responsible for 42 percent of all known attacks.

The mobile malware top three were Hummingbad, Android malware that establishes a persistent rootkit on the device, installs fraudulent applications, and can enable additional malicious activity; Triada, a modular Backdoor for Android which grants superuser privileges to downloaded malware; and Ztorg, a Trojan that uses root privileges to download and install applications on a mobile device without the user’s knowledge.

More detail on the findings can be found on the Check Point blog.

Photo Credit: Bartlomiej K. Kwieciszewski/Shutterstock