Cryptominers were the most-common malware family in 2021

William S. | March 22, 2022

Malware comes in many different types, and each works in a unique way to achieve its objective. However, all malware belongs to malicious software type and is actively working against your best interest.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, cryptominers top malware family list in 2021 with over 150K detections. Furthermore, cybercriminals targeted information and communication businesses the most with malware attacks.

The data is based on Trend Micro 2021 Annual Cybersecurity Report Navigating New Frontiers. The research explores the notable events and emerging trends that shaped the cybersecurity landscape of 2021.

In total, 150,909 detections of cryptocurrency miners were seen in 2021. Cryptominers have become extremely popular among cybercriminals over the past year. By using CPU and GPU resources of victims' devices, threat actors mine various crypto for profit. Sometimes such malware can stay on the device unnoticed for months.

Web shell scripts accumulated 149,290 detections. By launching web shell attacks, cybercriminals inject a malicious web file into a target web server’s directory and execute that file from their browser. A successful web shell attack allows attackers to access sensitive resources or make way for malware or ransomware injections.

The Ulise malware accounted for 145,321 detections in 2021. Such a type of Trojan enters a system as a file dropped by other malware or as a file accidentally downloaded by users when browsing malicious websites.

WannaCry ransomware cryptoworm threats resulted in 97,585 detections. WannaCry spreads across networks infecting Windows computers. Once on the device, ransomware encrypts essential files and demands a payment to unlock them.

Downad adware accumulated 71,328 detections in 2021.

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Industries targeted by malware

Usually, cybercriminals choose to attack industries, which can potentially bring the most rewards. Whether the company is rich in profit or sensitive customer data, attackers are much more likely to test the cybersecurity of such businesses.

The information and communication industry was targeted the most in 2021, with 561,753 malware files in emails. Businesses in this industry were appealing targets due to employees often using computers as their primary work tool. That creates a higher chance for someone to fall for a malicious email and download malware.

Cybercriminals sent out 397,072 malware files in emails to the retail industry. Retailers were in the crosshairs of attackers, as the industry experienced significant growth due to online sale surge during the pandemic. In addition, retail companies possess large amounts of customer data, which draws the attention of more cybercriminals.

The construction industry received emails with 356,952 malware files in 2021. In recent years construction companies would not usually be targeted by many cyberattacks. However, as such, businesses have not invested in cybersecurity before, now they are appealing targets to the attackers.

The finance industry was on the receiving end of 198,408 malware files in emails. At the same time, the manufacturing industry was the target of 188,373 malware files in emails.

Malware attacks enable attackers to profit off businesses simply and efficiently. Companies that become victims of cyberattacks often become vulnerable to data theft, hijacking, and other similar cyberattacks in the future. By employing good cybersecurity practices and applications, businesses can mitigate malware attack risks.

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William S.

William S.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Focused on revealing the latest cybersecurity trends around the world.



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