Check Point Research, the Threat Intelligence arm of has published its latest Global Threat Index for February 2021. Researchers reported that the Trickbot trojan continues to reign as the top malware targeting 7 percent of UAE businesses for the second consecutive month. xHelper, a malicious application seen in the wild since March 2019, used for downloading other malicious apps and display advertisements, sees an increase in activity as it targets close to 6 percent of users in the UAE.
Trickbot was the 4th most prevalent malware globally during 2020, impacting 8% of organizations. It played a key role in one of the highest-profile and expensive cyber attacks of 2020, which hit Universal Health Services (UHS), a leading healthcare provider in the U.S. UHS was hit by Ryuk ransomware and stated the attack cost it $67 million in lost revenues and costs. Trickbot was used by the attackers to detect and harvest data from UHS’ systems, and then to deliver the ransomware payload.
“Trickbot is gaining popularity for its versatility and its track record of success in previous attacks,” said Ram Narayanan, Country Manager, Check Point Software Technologies Middle East. “The fact that this trojan has almost replaced the intensity at which Emotet targeted UAE businesses is proof that cybercriminals are relentless in their actions. The threat actors behind Trickbot target financial institutions using a wide array of modules not only to steal credentials from the target PC, but also for lateral movement and reconnaissance on the targeted organization itself, prior to delivering a company-wide targeted ransomware attack. Businesses must focus on training and educating its employees in identifying malicious emails, so they can stop the trojan in its tracks and avoid exposing the entire networks.”
Check Point Research also warns that “Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure” is the most commonly exploited vulnerability, impacting 48% of organizations globally, followed by “HTTP Headers Remote Code Execution (CVE-2020-13756)” which impact 46% of organizations worldwide. “MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution” is third place in the top exploited vulnerabilities list, with a global impact of 45%.
Top malware families
*The arrows relate to the change in rank compared to the previous month
Trickbot ranks as the most popular malware impacting 7 percent of organizations in the UAE, closely followed by xHelper and Floxif which also impacted close to 6 percent and 3 percent of organizations in the UAE respectively.
1. ↑ Trickbot – Trickbot is a dominant botnet and banking Trojan constantly being updated with new capabilities, features and distribution vectors. This enables Trickbot to be a flexible and customizable malware that can be distributed as part of multi-purpose campaigns.
2. ↑ xHelper – A malicious application seen in the wild since March 2019, used for downloading other malicious apps and display advertisement. The application is capable of hiding itself from the user, and reinstall itself in case it was uninstalled.
3. ↑ Floxif – Floxif is an info stealer and backdoor, designed for Windows OS. It was used in 2017 as part of a large scale campaign in which attackers inserted Floxif (and Nyetya) into the free version of CCleaner (a cleanup utility) thus infecting more than 2 million users, amongst them large tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel.
Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index and its ThreatCloud Map is powered by Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence, the largest collaborative network to fight cybercrime which delivers threat data and attack trends from a global network of threat sensors. The ThreatCloud database inspects over 3 billion websites and 600 million files daily, and identifies more than 250 million malware activities every day.