Sydney, Aust., - 12 February 2015 - Malware infections, mobile threats and malicious URLs plagued the Australian online security landscape during 2014, according to the latest research from Trend Micro. These findings indicate Australians were most affected by web-based attacks, including online banking threats and ransomware.
Key Australian findings include:
- Malicious URLs hosted: 2014 saw more than 7 million hits to malicious URLs hosted in Australia, marking a significant increase from 2013 (4.8 million hits). The rate of malicious URLs hosted in Q1 2013 almost tripled in Q1 2014, likely caused by C&C (Command & Control) servers hosted in Australia during this time.
- Malicious URLs accessed: Australians clicked on more than 141.5 million malicious URLs during 2014, up from 138 million during 2013. Australia has consistently been among the top countries that accessed malicious URLs, which contributed to an increase in online banking threats.
- Malware: Other than a spike in malware detections during Q3, which was most likely due to an increase in ransomware infections, the number of malware detections remained consistent throughout 2014 at over 46 million.
- Spam: One bright spot for Australia was a decrease in spam. During 2014, Australia saw almost a million less spam sending IPs than in 2013.This decrease is in line with the global trend, as users are more aware of spam being sent via spear-phishing emails. However, consumers need to be conscious of targeted attacks on social media, which are likely to occur this year.
- Social engineering lures: These remained the most effective way for cybercriminals to get victims to click a malicious link or download malware during 2014. Lures that most often trick consumers include breaking news, celebrity, new tech, and sporting events. Globally in 2014 some of the top social engineering lures were on events such as the Soccer World Cup, MH 17 and MH 370 airplane crashes and the iPhone 6 launch. Trend Micro predicts the events that will result in the most social lures in Australia this year will be around the Cricket World Cup, the Rugby World Cup, Taylor Swift’s Australian tour and the Star Wars movie.
“These findings reveal several vulnerabilities of today’s interconnected technology," said Tim Falinski. Consumer Director, ANZ, Trend Micro. “Malware is increasingly being delivered in new ways – particularly via mobile devices, making Australian consumers more vulnerable to web-based attacks. Cybercriminals have greater opportunity to thrive as they evolve their attacks, moving closer to homes and individuals through mobile technology. With the number of cyber threats increasing each year, remaining vigilant and safe online in 2015 should be on every Australian’s list of new year’s resolutions."
Other findings include:
- Globally, the amount of mobile malware more than doubled in the second half of 2014, just six months after hitting the 2 million milestone. There are now 4.37 million malicious and high-risk apps threatening mobile devices.
- New mobile payment methods are likely to introduce new threats in the form of device vulnerabilities and social engineering scams, enabling cybercriminals to take advantage of users’ unsafe online shopping habits. With more than half the Australian population using smartphones for social networking, browsing websites and downloading video content, in addition to shopping, this should be top of mind during 2015.
“Malware creators are following the money trail. Given the complexity of mobile threats, users need to develop safer mobile habits this year. These include the use of secure password managers, the installation of a security app to scan for mobile malware and a personal effort to remain aware of the latest in mobile threats," said Falinski.
- Trend Micro’s blog provides further information about the mobile threat landscape and how it fared during the first and second halves of 2014
About Trend Micro
Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in security software, strives to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Built on 25 years of experience, our solutions for consumers, businesses and governments provide layered data security to protect information on mobile devices, endpoints, gateways, servers and the cloud. Trend Micro enables the smart protection of information, with innovative security technology that is simple to deploy and manage, and fits an evolving ecosystem. All of our solutions are powered by cloud-based global threat intelligence, the Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ infrastructure, and are supported by more than 1,200 threat experts around the globe. For more information, visit TrendMicro.com.au.