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The rise and rise of the cyber economy: PandaLabs Q1 2017 report

Cape Town, 17 May 2017
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Developments in cyber crime, cyberwarfare and AI mark the first quarter of 2017, as indicated by PandaLabs Q1 Report. The Report by Panda Security's malware resource facility identifies prominent tactics, attack methods and shifts in the industry.

The cyber crime industry continues to grow on the back of profitable attacks. The development of ransomware as a service (RAAS) and organisations like Vdos, an organisation specialising in DDos attacks, indicate the professionalism of the cyber crime industry. In Q1 we continue to see new and adapted attack methods such as RDPatcher, malware detected by PandaLabs in its attempt to access the victim's endpoint and prepare it for rental on the Dark Web.

Politically motivated cyber attacks

Fuelling the continued development of the cyber crime industry are politically motivated cyber attacks. In recent months, Cyberwarfare has become a popular tactic in enforcing political agendas. In Q4 of 2016, we saw some of the first high-profile instances of cyberwarfare, with accusations of Russia's interference in the 2016 US elections. The gravity the development is clear as countries like Germany have now begun to develop cyber-command centres to monitor online activity - this quarter France and the Netherlands reconsidered electronic voting procedures to avoid situations like the 2016 US elections.

Targeted IOT device attacks

Targeted attacks on IOT devices continue to threaten our safety in line with the ever-increasing number of IOT devices. In February, at the European Broadcasting Union Media Cyber Security Seminar, security consultant Rafael Scheel demonstrated more ways these devices can breach unsecured networks by creating an exploit that would allow an attacker to take control of a Smart TV using only a DDT signal.

A perfect device for eavesdropping

Recent developments in robotics and AI have led to that belief that the fourth industrial revolution is not far off. Robotics and AI technology could do more than just take over jobs - introducing virtual assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo, can become a dangerous in road for hackers. Introduced in February 2017, Google Home can tune into your home IOT devices while waiting to be called on - making it the perfect device for eavesdropping. Police recently requested access to an Amazon Echo device as it may have held evidence that could be useful to their case.

Over the course of 2016 ransomware attacks earned criminals billions of rand. Fuelled by its profitability, Ransomware attacks continue to increase, with new variants created daily. In Q1 PandaLabs discovered Ransomware variant WYSEWYE - that allows the attacker to select and take control of specific folders on the victim's endpoint, ultimately demanding a ransom to give back control to the victim.

See the full report by PandaLabs here.

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Panda Security Beatrice Kampmann (+27) 021 683 3899
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