Fileless Malware Attacks Surge by 900% and Cryptominers Make a Comeback, While Ransomware Attacks Decline

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WatchGuard report uncovers massive increases in endpoint attacks, rising encrypted malware rates, new exploits targeting IoT devices, and more

SEATTLE, March 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — WatchGuard® Technologies, a global leader in network security and intelligence, multi-factor authentication (MFA), advanced endpoint protection, and secure Wi-Fi, today released its Internet Security Report for Q4 2020. The report includes exciting new insights based on endpoint threat intelligence following WatchGuard’s acquisition of Panda Security in June 2020. Among its most notable findings, the report reveals that fileless malware and cryptominer attack rates grew by nearly 900% and 25% respectively, while unique ransomware payloads plummeted by 48% in 2020 compared to 2019. Additionally, the WatchGuard Threat Lab found that Q4 2020 brought a 41% increase in encrypted malware detections over the previous quarter and network attacks hit their highest levels since 2018.

“The rise in sophisticated, evasive threat tactics last quarter and throughout 2020 showcases how vital it is to implement layered, end-to-end security protections,” said Corey Nachreiner, chief technology officer at WatchGuard. “The attacks are coming on all fronts, as cyber criminals increasingly leverage fileless malware, cryptominers, encrypted attacks and more, and target users both at remote locations as well as corporate assets behind the traditional network perimeter. Effective security today means prioritizing endpoint detection and response, network defenses and foundational precautions such as security awareness training and strict patch management.”

WatchGuard’s quarterly Internet Security Reports inform businesses, their partners and end customers about the latest malware, endpoint and network attack trends as they emerge. Key findings from the Q4 2020 report include:

  • Fileless malware attacks skyrocket – Fileless malware rates in 2020 increased by 888% over 2019. These threats can be particularly dangerous due to their ability to evade detection by traditional endpoint protection clients and because they can succeed without victims doing anything beyond clicking a malicious link or unknowingly visiting…

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