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News Article

Malware Attacks to Companies Grow 13 Percent

By Alessa Flores | Mon, 04/27/2020 - 12:47

The Attorney General of the State of Baja California Sur (PGJE BCS) announced the opening of a cyber division to mitigate the generation of false news and help the population to avoid being victims of fraud or falling under collective hysteria. According to a note published by Diario el Independiente, false news have circulated in the state regarding false increases in the electricity rate, false reports of chaos and deaths related to COVID-19 and even news that blames telecommunications antennas for the outbreak.

Starting today, the PGJE BCS site will be available for users to consult the news that appear in different media and publications to help answer questions about the veracity or lack thereof of some information. Also, citizens can make complaints through the website and can help to keep updated the information that is reported. 

Among the false news that have been reported in Baja California is that "Casa Ley, in solidarity with the Mexican people, and give away coupons of MX2,500 (US$100.6) during the pandemic," followed by a link to make the coupon valid. However, when people enter the link they are infected by malware that accesses their computers or phones to steal personal information that is later used.

According to Malwarebytes, a malware is a malicious software used to describe any program or code that aims to damage an informatics system. Malware is considered a highly hostile virus, intrusive and harmful to computer systems, networks, tablets, mobile devices and computers that often takes partial control of a device's operations to illegally take money from the user or hijack, steal, encrypt or delete basic computer functions and even spy on your activity without your knowledge or permission. 

One of the most famous malware attacks in Mexico happened in November last year with PEMEX. Mexico’s most important parastatal company suffered from an attack that caused a virus to restrict access to 5 percent of its computers’ information. The attackers demanded a bailout in bitcoin to retrieve the stolen information, according to a note by Milenio. SonicWall firm explained through its Security Center that in the first days of November 2019, it was detected that Mexico ranked second as a target for cybercriminals worldwide, ranking below the US and above the UK.

According to the 2020 State of Malware Report by Malwarebytes, cybercriminals have spent the last 10 years transforming malware viruses into a business. During this time, the report highlights there has been a diversification in the sophistication of hacking, evasion and stealth techniques, which has been especially tailored to attack androids and that during 2019, cybercrimes grew considerably.

Over the last two years, there has been an increasing switch to target organizations over consumers with malware attacks. Overall, end-consumer threat detections decreased by 2 percent in 2019 against 2018, while company attacks increased by 13 percent in 2019, explains the 2020 State of Malware Report. In addition, companies have been the most affected by malware such as Emotet and TrickBot. Current versions of the Emotet Trojan have the ability to install other malware on infected machines. When a machine is infected, Emotet downloads another banking Trojan known as TrickBot and Ryuk ransomware, according to Malwarebytes.

Both Trojan viruses, Emotet and TrickBot, started out as simple bankers/info-stealers then evolved into downloaders and botnets. Currently, Emotet is the second most detected threat to organizations by Malwarebytes overall, rising in 2019 by 6 percent over 2018. In comparison, the growth of TrickBot in 2019 was far higher than that of Emotet. TrickBot rose by 52 percent in 2019 compared to 2018 ranking fourth in Malwarebytes’s top business detections, according to the report.

Despite that iOS is much more resistant to cyberattacks by malware and ransomware, the report indicated that during 2019 there was a significant increase of 400 percent in attacks toward Apple devices compared to 2018. On average, iOS devices received 11 threats per endpoint compared to Windows, which receive 5.8 threats per endpoint.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Malwarebytes, PGJE BCS, Milenio, Sonic Walls, Pemex
Photo by:   kalhh
Alessa Flores Alessa Flores Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst