Symantec researchers spotted an uptick in the number of web attacks blocked per day between November and December 2016, while also spotting a significant drop in malware activity during the same period.
Last month, Symantec researchers spotted an average of 388,000 attacks blocked per day compared to just 291,000 attacks per day in November 2016, Symantec Cyber Security Threat Analyst Ben Nahorney said in a Jan. 6 blog post. December 2016 did see a dramatic decline in the number of new malware variants with only 19.5 million new variants compared to 71.2 million the month before.
The decline was most likely the result from a decline in activity surrounding the Kotver trojan family of threats, which saw a significant drop in activity between August and November of last year, Nahorney said in the post.
Mobile malware remained steady as December 2016 was the sixth month in a row in which no new Android malware families were discovered, however, the number of Android variants per family increased yet again to 59.
Nahorney noted a miniscule decrease in the rate of spam from 54.3 percent to 54.2 percent with organizations with 1,001-1,500 employees having the highest spam rate in December with the construction sector industry having the highest spam rates increasing 2.1 percentage points to 63.3 percent, the blog said.
The was also no change in the rankings of top exploit kits with Rig retaining the number one spot for the fourth month straight accounting for 34.8 percent of all exploit activity followed by Fiesta activity, which rose 4.2 percent and Magnitude which increased its activity from 2.6 to 3.2 percent.
Researchers noted the arrival of a new exploit kit dubbed Stegano which hides its attack code in individual pixels of malicious advertisements hosted on popular news sites, the post said.