Number of fileless malware attacks increased by nearly 900% in 2020

Fileless malware attacks increased by nearly 900% in 2020 and cryptominer attack rates grew by 25%, according to a report from WatchGuard Technologies.

The cybersecurity company’s new research also found that despite the increase in attacks, the amount of unique ransomware payloads plummeted by 48% in 2020 compared to 2019.

It also stated that during Q4 2020 there was a 41% increase in encrypted malware detections over the previous quarter and network attacks hit their highest levels since 2018.

WatchGuard CTO Corey Nachreiner said, “The rise in sophisticated, evasive threat tactics last quarter and throughout 2020 showcases how vital it is to implement layered, end-to-end security protections,”

“The attacks are coming on all fronts, as cybercriminals increasingly leverage fileless malware, cryptominers, encrypted attacks and more, and target users both at remote locations as well as corporate assets behind the traditional network perimeter. Effective security today means prioritising endpoint detection and response, network defences and foundational precautions such as security awareness training and strict patch management.”

The company outlined that fileless malware is particularly dangerous due to its ability to evade detection by traditional endpoint protection clients. These attacks can succeed without a victim doing anything beyond clicking a malicious link or unknowingly visiting a compromised website.

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