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RIG Exploit Kit Attacks Spike in September

The RIG toolkit became the most active exploit kit (EK) in September, accounting for nearly one quarter of EK attacks during the timeframe, a new report from Symantec reveals.

The RIG toolkit became the most active exploit kit (EK) in September, accounting for nearly one quarter of EK attacks during the timeframe, a new report from Symantec reveals.

The security firm’s recent intelligence report for September 2016 shows that the RIG EK grew by more than 21 percentage points to grab 24.6% of the EK market, compared to the only 3.2% share it enjoyed in August 2016. Neutrino, which was the most active EK since Angler’s death in June, dropped from 13.9% to 12% market share over the course of the last month, Symantec reveals.

In late September, RIG was observed replacing Neutrino in massive malvertising campaigns, which suggested that the threat landscape was changing once again, after being heavily shaken in May-June, when both Nuclear and Angler EKs disappeared. In early October, security researcher Kafeine revealed that Neutrino’s operators decided to close shop, while those behind RIG started adding more advanced features to their malicious software.

Although RIG grew during September, Symantec researchers say that the number of web attacks blocked during the month decreased to 392 thousand per day, most probably a result of the decline in major toolkit activity seen over the last few months.

New malware variants were on the rise again during last month, reaching 50.1 million, a record level for the past 12 months. According to Symantec, the increase was most likely determined by a surge in click-fraud activity that began in August surrounding the Trojan.Kovter family of threats. September was also the third month in a row to register an increase in email malware rate, which has reached one in 113 emails, the highest rate seen since January.

The global spam rate went up from 53.1% to 53.4% in September, with the Construction sector registering the highest spam rate, at 62.2%. The Mining sector came in second at 57.7%, while the Retail Trade sector rounded up top three with 54.8%. Symantec’s report also reveals that small businesses with 1-250 employees had the highest spam rate in September.

Phishing rate went up as well, to one in 3,127 emails, with the Mining sector being hit the most, at a rate of one in 726 emails. The Public Administration sector registered a drop in phishing rates to one in 2,188 emails in September, while small businesses with 1-250 employees registered the highest phishing rate at one in 1,544 emails.

According to Symantec, manual sharing dominated social media scams in September with 75.27%, an 8.2 percentage points drop compared to August. Fake Offers grew 5.11 percentage points to 16.62%, compared to the 11.51% registered in August.

According to Symantec, no new Android malware family was observed last month, but the number of new variants per family increased to 56 in September. This shows that attackers might be finding success with existing Android families, as opposed to creating new ones.

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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