Internet Security Report: Fileless Malware on the Rise, Defenses Failing
Seventy-five percent of malware is going undetected by “traditional
malware solutions,” according to a new report. And 74% of threats
detected in the last quarter were zero-day malware, an all-time high,
according to the researchers.
The report, the Internet
Security Report for Q1 2021 from WatchGuard
Technologies, found that malicious scripts are delivering
fileless malware in the form of an XML external entity. The most
widespread was XML.JSLoader, which made the top 10 for the first time
in the first quarter of 2021. According to researchers: “The sample
WatchGuard identified uses an XML external entity (XXE) attack to
open a shell to run commands to bypass the local PowerShell execution
policy and runs in a non-interactive way, hidden from the actual user
or victim. This is another example of the rising prevalence of
fileless malware and the need for advanced endpoint detection and
A ransomware loader called Zmutzy made the top 2 in Q1. It manifests
as a disguised email attachment. According to the researchers:
“Associated with Nibiru ransomware specifically, victims encounter
this threat as a zipped file attachment to an email or a download
from a malicious website. Running the zip file downloads an
executable, which to the victim appears to be a legitimate PDF.
Attackers used a comma instead of a period in the file name and a
manually adjusted icon to pass the malicious zip file off as a PDF.
This type of attack highlights the importance of phishing education
and training, as well as implementing back-up solutions in the event
that a variant like this unleashes a ransomware infection.”
The report highlighted a number of other trends in malware and
network attacks as well.
Half of the top-10 malware families by volume were new to the
top-10, including Ursu, Trojan.IFrame, XML.JSLoader, Zmutzy, and
Encrypted connections saw less zero-day malware (60.3%) than the
overall average (74%);
Network attacks reached a three-year high during the first quarter,
at 4.2 million Intrusion Prevention Service (IPS) hits on Firebox
More than 5 million malicious domains were blocked by DNSWatch in
the quarter, a 281% increase over Q4 2020.
Exploits against ProxyLogin Exchange Server flaws increased 1,600%.
report and executive summary can be downloaded here. An
with highlights from the report can be accessed here.