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The digital underworld generated 480 new threats per minute in the third quarter of 2018. That’s what the new McAfee Labs Threats Report of December this year says. Malware for the Internet of Things (IoT) increased by 73 percent, malware for cryptographic currency mines by 71 percent.

“Cybercriminals want to use both old and new vulnerabilities as weapons, and the number of services now available on the underground markets has dramatically increased the effects of this,” says Christiaan Beek, lead scientist at McAfee. “As long as ransom is paid and relatively simple attacks like phishing are successful, criminals will continue to use these techniques.”


Although IoT devices such as cameras and video recorders are often not used for cryptomining because they have too little processing power, cyber criminals do see the growth in these types of devices and their poor security. That’s why there’s a focus on it now and thousands of devices are being used to create a supercomputer for cryptographic currency mining.

Over the past four quarters, the number of new malware targeting IoT devices has increased by 203 percent. New malware for currency mining increased by 55 percent. The total number of malware has increased by 4,467 percent over the past four quarters.

However, the number of new malware for mobile devices decreased by 24 percent. On the other hand, the data breaches in the financial sector increased by 20 percent. The number of new ransomware also increased by 10 percent, even though the number of unique ransomware families decreased again.

Own shops

In order to prevent them from being caught by the police and to establish a relationship of trust with customers, some cyber criminals have set up their own specialised shop. As a result, they are moving away from the larger markets to sell their services. This shift has led to the emergence of websites that create hidden marketplaces for the owners of the shops.

John Fokker, Head of Cyber Investigations at McAfee, calls cybercriminals very opportunistic by nature. “The threats that we now have to face began as discussions in hidden forums, and grew towards products and services available in underground markets. In addition, we are seeing the emergence of strong brands that offer a lot to cybercriminals: a higher infection rate and both operational and financial security.”

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.