Malware Attacks Rise 70%, Impacting Increasing Nations

With the use of technologies such as AI on the rise, the threat landscape is rapidly changing, impacting more nations and industries than ever before

Scarlett Evans, Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

November 28, 2023

2 Min Read
Malware attacks have significantly grown in the past few months

Malware attacks have significantly grown in the past few months, a trend only set to continue as attackers gain access to increasingly sophisticated technologies.

BlackBerry’s latest Threat Intelligence Report found there’s been a 70% increase in malware attacks in recent months and these attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and more frequent as technologies such as AI continue to develop.

According to the report, the government sector specifically has seen a 50% rise in targeted malware attacks, while the health care sector has seen cyber-attacks double in the last three months.

The financial sector was, however, the most frequently attacked industry this quarter, with BlackBerry highlighting high-value data and the “opportunity to disrupt essential services” as prime factors for this trend. 

Increased accessibility of commodity malware and the rise of mobile banking malware targeting digital and mobile banking services was also identified as contributing factors to the sector’s vulnerability. 

The U.S. and Ukraine were found to be the most targeted countries in the world, with the U.K. coming in third. Overall, the report also noted an increased diversification in the countries being targeted by these attacks, pointing to the rising prevalence of cyberattacks.

Related:BlackBerry Unveils AI-Based Cybersecurity Tool, Hannover Messe 2023

The increased accessibility of generative AI tools also means the nature of threats are rapidly changing.

“Threat actors are exploiting global interest in ChatGPT to lure the public into installing malware,” the report said. “Around 2,000 people a day installed a malicious browser extension called Quick access to ChatGPT 87 that harvested information from Facebook Business accounts. We predict that ChatGPT will continue to present innovative threats at an increasing rate as 2023 progresses.” 

While the rising proliferation and sophistication of attacks is a point of concern, the report also notes that cyberdefense technologies are also adapting to meet the changing nature of threats.

“Malicious actors are working harder than ever to expand their range and volume of cyberattacks,” said Ismael Valenzuela, BlackBerry’s vice president of threat research. “The intensifying number of novel attacks targeting nations and industries demonstrates the impact of the macroeconomic climate on cybersecurity. 

“However, while threats are increasing in number and diversity, so is our ability to defend against them with advanced technologies that predict and prevent attacks.”  

Ransomware is expected to remain an ongoing threat to both financial and healthcare institutions, with the report saying these two industries are expected to remain “heavily targeted.” 

The primary attack tactics of discovery and defense evasion were identified in the report, with the BlackBerry team stressing the need to monitor these tactics to ensure sufficient protection.

“Prioritizing the detection of these tactics in a network is critical,” the team said. “By learning these TTPs and threat actor profiles, a cybersecurity team may significantly reduce the impact of attacks, as well as aid threat hunting, incident response and recovery efforts.”

About the Author(s)

Scarlett Evans

Assistant Editor, IoT World Today

Scarlett Evans is the assistant editor for IoT World Today, with a particular focus on robotics and smart city technologies. Scarlett has previous experience in minerals and resources with Mine Australia, Mine Technology and Power Technology. She joined Informa in April 2022.

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