In 2019, the number of unique malware detected by Kaspersky’s web antivirus solution rose by 13.7% to 24,610,126 up from 21,643,946 in 2018, the cyber security firm has revealed.
According to Kaspersky, the growth was mainly influenced by a 187% rise in web skimmer files and other threats such as backdoors and banking Trojans. The presence of miners however dropped by more than half highlighting a shift in the type of threats used by attackers on the web.
“The volume of online attacks has been growing for years, but in 2019 we saw a clear shift from certain types of attacks that are becoming ineffective, to the ones focused on gaining clear profit from users. This is partly due to users becoming more aware of the threats and how to avoid them, and organisations steadily becoming more responsible. This year we also witnessed growth in zero-day exploits, showing products remain vulnerable and are used by attackers for sophisticated attacks and this trend is likely to continue in the future,” Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, Head of Anti-Malware Research at Kaspersky said.
The growth in the number of malicious objects accounts for an increase in the number and variety of HTML pages and scripts with hidden data loading – usually used by unscrupulous advertisers. Yet, most notably, the growth was also partially caused by online skimmers (sometimes referred to as sniffers) – where scripts are embedded by attackers in online stores and used to steal users’ credit card data from websites.
The growth of online skimmers’ unique files detected by Kaspersky web antivirus equaled 187%, reaching 510,000. At the same time the number of threats detected by web antivirus have risen five-fold (by 523%), totaling 2,660,000 in 2019. Web skimmers also entered the top 20 malicious objects detected online, taking 10th place in the overall ranking. The share of new Backdoors and banking Trojan files, among all types of threats, also grew by 134% and 61% to reach 7,644,402 and 739,551 respectively.
Nevertheless, the number of unique malicious URLs detected by Kaspersky web antivirus halved in comparison to 2018 (50.5%) – from 554,159,621 to 273,782,113. This shift was largely caused by significant decrease of hidden web miners, even though several detections related to them, can still be seen in the top 20 web malware threats.