ESET Threat Report T2 2022: RDP Attacks See Further Drop; India Among Countries with Highest Number of Android Trojan Detections
India was among countries with most detections of Android/Spy.Agent trojan. Such malicious apps have a wide range of spying capabilities including recording audio and video.
India (35%) also ranked second after China (53%) as the geolocation for bots making up the largest IoT botnet ‘ Mozi’
Key Points of the Report —
- Following a sharp decline observed in T1 2022, the total number of RDP attack attempts declined by a further 89%; the likely reasons for the decline are post-COVID return to offices, improved security, and the Russia-Ukraine war.
- Politically motivated ransomware declined; operators turned their attention from Russia back to their usual targets such as the United States, China, and Israel.
- Emotet continued to be active, with detections seen mainly in Japan and Italy; according to ESET telemetry, its operators took time off in August.
- ESET phishing feeds showed a sixfold increase in shipping-themed phishing URLs, with the most commonly impersonated brands being USPS and DHL.
- Web skimmer known as Magecart constituted three-fourths of all banking malware detections, leaving far behind the rest of the malware strains in the category.
- Cryptocurrency threats went down along with the price of bitcoin; however, the previously declining category of Cryptostealers grew by almost 50%.
Even with declining numbers, Russian IP addresses continued to be responsible for the largest portion of RDP attacks. “In T1 2022, Russia was also the country that was most targeted by ransomware, with some of the attacks being politically or ideologically motivated by the war. However, ESET Threat Report T2 2022 shows that this hacktivism wave has declined in T2, and ransomware operators turned their attention towards the United States, China, and Israel,” explains Roman Kováč, Chief Research Officer at ESET.
Android threat detections continued to grow in T2 2022 by 9.5%, with India named among countries with most detections of Android/Spy.Agent trojan with various spying capabilities, including secretly recording audio and video. Behind a large portion of Android spyware detection in the past four months was “GB WhatsApp” – a popular but cloned (and therefore unofficial) third-party version of WhatsApp. The cloned app is not available on Google Play and therefore there are no security checks in place compared with the legitimate WhatsApp, and versions available on various download websites are riddled with malware.
Further, the biggest zombie IoT botnet ‘Mozi’ saw the number of bots drop by 23% from 500,000 compromised devices in T1 to 383,000 in T2. However, China (53%) and India (35%) continued to have the highest number of IoT bots geolocated inside the respective countries. These statistics confirm the assumption that the Mozi botnet is on autopilot, running without human supervision since its reputed author was arrested in 2021.
According to ESET telemetry, August was a vacation month for the operators of Emotet, the most influential downloader strain. The gang behind it also adapted to Microsoft’s decision to disable VBA macros in documents originating from the internet and focused on campaigns based on weaponized Microsoft Office files and LNK files.
The report also examines threats mostly impacting home users. ESET phishing feeds showed a sixfold increase in shipping-themed phishing lures, most of the time presenting the victims with fake DHL and USPS requests to verify shipping addresses. “In terms of threats directly affecting virtual and physical currencies, a web skimmer known as Magecart remains the leading threat going after online shoppers’ credit card details. We also saw a twofold increase in cryptocurrency-themed phishing lures and a rising number of cryptostealers,” explains Kováč.
The ESET T2 2022 Threat Report also reviews the most important findings and achievements by ESET researchers. They uncovered a previously unknown macOS backdoor, and later attributed it to ScarCruft, discovered an updated version of the Sandworm APT group’s ArguePatch malware loader, uncovered Lazarus payloads in trojanized apps, and analyzed an instance of the Lazarus Operation In(ter)ception campaign targeting macOS devices while spearphishing in crypto-waters. ESET researchers also discovered buffer overflow vulnerabilities in Lenovo UEFI firmware and a new campaign using a fake Salesforce update as a lure.
Besides these findings, the report also summarizes the many talks given by ESET researchers in recent months, and introduces talks planned for AVAR, Ekoparty, and many other conferences.
For more than 30 years, ESET® has been developing industry-leading IT security software and services for businesses and consumers worldwide. With solutions ranging from endpoint and mobile security to encryption and two-factor authentication, ESET’s high-performing, easy-to-use products give consumers and businesses the peace of mind to enjoy the full potential of their technology. ESET unobtrusively protects and monitors 24/7, updating defenses in real time to keep users safe and businesses running without interruption. Evolving threats require an evolving IT security company. Backed by R&D centers worldwide, ESET is the first IT security company to earn 100 Virus Bulletin VB100 awards, identifying every single “in-the-wild” malware without interruption since 2003. For more information, visit www.eset.com or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
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