New research shows cybersecurity battleground shifting to Linux and web servers

WatchGuard's latest quarterly Internet Security Report reveals that despite an overall drop in malware detection, Linux malware made up more than 36 percent of the top threats identified in Q1 2017.

The increased presence of Linux/Exploit, Linux/Downloader and Linux/Flooder attacks highlights the need to protect Linux-based IoT devices and Linux servers from the internet with layered defences.

Othe key findings from the Q1 2017 report include:

  • The cybersecurity battleground is shifting toward web servers. In Q1, drive-by downloads and browser-based attacks were predominant. Furthermore, 82 percent of the top network attacks targeted web servers or other web-based services. Users should strengthen web server defences by hardening permissions, limiting resource exposure, and patching server software.
  • Legacy Antivirus (AV) continues to miss new malware at a higher rate. AV solutions missed 38 percent of the total threats WatchGuard caught in Q1, compared to 30 percent in Q4 2016. The growing number of new or zero-day malware now evading traditional AV highlights the weaknesses of signature-based detection solutions and the need for services that can detect and deter advanced persistent threats.
  • Attackers still exploit the Android StageFright flaw. This exploit first gained notoriety in 2015 and is proving its longevity as the first mobile-specific threat to hit WatchGuard Threat Lab's top 10 attacks list this year. At a minimum, Android users should regularly upgrade their operating systems to prevent mobile attacks like StageFright.
  • Threat actors take a break from hacking the holidays. Overall, threat volume decreased 52% in Q1 2017 compared to Q4 2016. We believe the drop in malware detections can be attributed to the absence of seasonal malware campaigns associated with various Q4 holidays, which increased overall malware instances during that period.

"This new Firebox Feed data allows us to feel the pulse of the latest network attacks and malware trends in order to identify patterns that influence the constantly evolving threat landscape," said Corey Nachreiner, chief technology officer at WatchGuard Technologies. "The Q1 report findings continue to reinforce the importance and effectiveness of basic security policies, layered defences and advanced malware prevention. We urge readers to examine the report's key takeways and best practices, and bring them to the forefront of information security efforts within their organisations."

WatchGuard's Internet Security Report explores the latest computer and network security threats affecting small to midsize businesses (SMBs) and distributed enterprises. It is designed to offer educational insights, research and security recommendations to help readers better protect themselves and their organisations against modern threat actors.

The WatchGuard Report is based on anonymised Firebox Feed data from more than 26,500 active WatchGuard UTM appliances worldwide, representing a small portion of the overall install base. These appliances blocked more than 7 million malware variants in Q1, representing an average of 266 samples blocked by each individual device. WatchGuard appliances also blocked more than 2.5 million network attacks in Q1, which equates to 156 attacks blocked per device. The complete report includes a breakdown of the quarter's top malware and attack trends, an analysis of the CIA Vault 7 leaks and key defensive learnings for readers. The report also features a new research project from the WatchGuard Threat Lab, which focuses on a new vulnerability in a popular IoT camera.

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