New malware continues to be spawned with more than 3 million new strains of malware being identified in the first half of 2015.
This comes out to an average of 12 new strains per minute, which is lower than the second half of 2014 but higher than the same comparison time period of the prior year. Overall, since 2006, the total discovered malware strains comes out to 22,393,098, G Data Software revealed in its biannual malware report.
While the down-to-the-minute stat might come as a shock to more general readers, people in the security business are already well aware of the immense malware growth rate, said Andy Hayter, security evangelist at G Data, in an interview with SCMagazine.com. That said, security professionals do know it's a continual problem and trend.
“It's not going away,” Hayter said. “It's getting more and more complex and the bad guys are finding new ways to take advantage of the low-hanging fruit, or users who aren't as technically aware.”
When it comes down to protecting themselves and their organizations, Hayter stressed the importance of patching, he said.
Noting that not everybody patches, he said users need to keep their antivirus software updated on new devices, especially if they start with a trial version, he said.
The study also found that most malicious and fraudulent websites were hosted in the U.S., which was followed by China and France. Of course, that doesn't mean attackers are based in those countries.
“Bad guys are finding there's a tremendous number of opportunities, both big ones and small ones where they're located in the world,” Hayter said. “They serve malware from there.”
Among impacted websites, healthcare-oriented sites were often the most targeted. The study didn't differentiate between illegitimate and legitimate sites when putting together its vertical ranking. Healthcare impersonation can prove particularly lucrative because users are often prepared to hand over sensitive personal information, including their Social Security numbers, Hayter said, making those sites worthwhile targets.
Going forward, Hayter said malware will only continuing to proliferate, especially when bringing the Internet of Things (IoT) into consideration.
“The IoT is just adding more to that attack surface out there and so it's just getting bigger and allowing bad guys to use that growing attack surface to exploit vulnerabilities,” he said. “The attack surface is increasing so I suspect malware will increase along with it.”