Clueless s’kiddies using exploit kits are behind ransomware surge

Ease of exploit kit use may be behind growth of nasties

Releases of new ransomware grew 24 per cent quarter-on-quarter in Q1 2016 as relatively low-skilled criminals continued to harness exploit kits for slinging file-encrypting malware at their marks.

The latest quarterly study by Intel Security also revealed that Mac OS malware grew quickly in Q1, primarily due to an increase in VSearch adware. Mobile malware also increased 17 per cent quarter-over-quarter in Q1 2016.

The report also records the return of the Pinkslipbot Trojan, a backdoor Trojan with worm-like abilities that debuted in 2007.

Pinkslipbot is capable of stealing banking credentials, email passwords, and digital certificates from compromised PCs, making it a particularly potent threat. The latest iteration of the nasty surfaced in late 2015 and features anti-analysis and multi-layered encryption.

The Gamut botnet became the most productive spam botnet in Q1, increasing its volume by nearly 50 per cent. Prevalent spam campaigns in Q1 included get-rich-quick schemes and knockoff pharmaceutical supplies.

Kelihos, the most prolific spamming botnet during Q4 2015 and a widespread malware distributor, slipped to fourth place in Intel Security’s charts.

The full report is available here (pdf, 53 pages). ®

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