Kaspersky releases 2019 cyber threat statistics
The number of unique malicious objects detected by Kaspersky in 2019 rose by 14% compared to last year.
Other threats, such as backdoors and banking Trojans detected in-lab, also grew, while the presence of miners dropped by more than a half.
These trends have demonstrated a shift in the type of threats used by attackers, who search for more effective ways to target users, according to the Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2019 Statistics report.
The growth in unique malicious objects detected by Kaspersky’s Web antivirus solutions rose by an eighth (13.7%), due to an increase in the number and variety of HTML pages and scripts with hidden data loading – usually used by unscrupulous advertisers.
The growth was also partially caused by online skimmers, sometimes called sniffers, where scripts are embedded by attackers in online stores and used to steal users’ credit card data from Web sites.
The report also revealed that the number of threats detected by Kaspersky has risen by a staggering 523%, totalling 2 660 000 in 2019.
On the plus side, the number of unique malicious URLs halved in comparison to last year, from 554 159 621 to 273 782 113.
Kaspersky attributes this shift to a dramatic decrease in the number of hidden crypto-miners, even though several detections related to them (including Trojan.Script.Miner.gen, Trojan.BAT.Miner.gen, Trojan.JS.Miner.m) can still be seen in the top 20 Web malware threats. In fact, crypto-miners have been steadily declining over the year, with the number of users’ computers affected by attempts to install miners having dropped by 59%.
A whopping 85% of Web threats were detected as malicious URLs, the detection name used to identify links from Kaspersky’s black list. It includes links to Web pages containing redirects to exploits, sites with exploits and other malicious programs, botnet command and control centres, extortion Web sites, and others.
Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, head of Anti-Malware Research at Kaspersky, says while the volume of online attacks has been growing for years, in 2019 the security giant saw a clear shift from types of attacks that are becoming ineffective, ones that focus on gaining easy profit from users.
“This is partly due to users becoming more aware of threats and how to avoid them, as well as organisations steadily becoming more responsible,” he adds.
He cites miners as an example.
“These have lost their popularity due to lower profitability and crypto-currencies’ fight against covert mining. We also witnessed growth in zero-day exploits, showing products remain vulnerable and are used by attackers for sophisticated attacks, and this trend is likely to continue in the future.”
The number of new malicious files processed by Kaspersky’s in-lab detection technologies amounted to about 340 000 - which is 1% less than the previous year.