Malwarebytes reviews threat attacks of 2013 & predicts about 2014

Much like in the  real world, the internet too has bad people. While 2013 did manage to roll out some of the finest gadgets, and enhance the existing technologies, we witnessed a lot of depraved things too. Popular security firm, Malwarebytes has prepared a montage of all the major threats we witnessed in 2013, and also alarmed us about what we should expect this year.

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Rise of Ransomware

Ransomware aren’t anything new, but 2013 was the year it grew by leaps and bounds. These ransomware usually pose themselves as government agencies that have caught one doing some illegal activity on the web. The nature of this malware makes your computer either locked up or encrypt all your files. They later ask the victim for some money in order to restore its computer to working state.

At the end quarter of last year, we witnessed one of the lethal most malware of all times. This too was a ransomware which ran by the name Cryptolocker. It is still out there, although we have found several fixes and preventive measures to deal with it. But the encryption code of Cryptolocker is yet to be broken. The encryption implemented in Cryptolocker is so sophisticated that it would take more than one’s lifetime to figure that out. Malwarebytes explains,

The type of encryption used by Cryptolocker is the most secure standard today. Using asymmetric public key encryption, they encrypt the files with a public key locally on the system, and you can only decrypt the files with the private key, stored on the remote server.

Cryptolocker unveils new possibilities for hackers and malware code writers. Given the success of Cryptolocker, we are expecting many more copycats of this in coming years.

Hike in mobile threats

Much like Ransomware, vicious minds try to fool you over phone calls as well. Posing as law enforcement, or IT guy from Microsoft, or from your Anti-Virus security, these posers then can ask you do any number of things.

Other than that, we also saw SMS Trojans and infected QR Codes becoming a real thing in 2013.

One of the most common exploits kit used by the hackers was Blackhole Exploit Kit. It is openly available on many hacking forums. Malwarebytes believes that we will be seeing more variants of this kit in 2014.

Other attacks that were quite common in 2013 were DDoS attacks against banks. Although they did manage to cause some harm, our security has been improved to a great measure to fight with such attacks in the future.

And last but certainly not the least, PUPs, or Potential Unwanted Programs also made quite a buzz this past year. These malware are the ones that usually come bundled with freeware apps. We saw some cases back in the year where programs were quietly performing DDoS attacks on some websites from victims’ computer. Although some hike in such malware is expected, most AntiVirus suites are now able to detect and protect you from such infection.

What to expect this year

Malwarebytes expect that we will see more Ransomware this year, and the mobile threats will get a significant hike as well. It also believes that Mac OS will be attacked more often this year, and more exploit kits will surface the market and attack through several new techniques including via hardware level.

You can read more about such attacks on Malwarebytes blog post.

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Roger Dunning is a technology evangelist. He lives in New York with his wife and pet dog. You can find him 24×7 on the Internet.