July 2022’s Most Wanted Malware: Emotet Takes Summer Vacation but Definitely Not ‘Out-of-Office’

Check Point Research reports that Emotet is still the most prevalent malware, despite a significant decrease in its global impact, and has new features and improvements to its capabilities

San Carlos, California, UNITED STATES


SAN CARLOS, Calif., Aug. 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Check Point Research (CPR), the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, has published its latest Global Threat Index for July 2022. CPR reports that Emotet continues its reign as the most widely used malware, despite a 50% reduction in its global impact compared to the previous month.

After a peak in Emotet's global impact last month, Emotet is back to its global impact numbers and continues as the most widespread malware. Possibly the peak ended, due to summer vacations as was seen in the past. Nevertheless, new features and improvements in Emotet's capabilities are constantly discovered, such as its latest credit card stealer module developed, and adjustments done in its spreading systems.

July has also seen Snake Keylogger, a credential stealer, falling from third to eighth place. In June, Snake Keylogger was being spread via malicious Word documents so the decrease in its prevalence could be due in part to Microsoft’s recent confirmation that it will block macros by default. Replacing it in third place is XMRig, an open-source CPU software used to mine cryptocurrency – this indicates that cybercriminals are fundamentally ‘in it for the money’ despite any higher motivations they may claim, such as hacktivism. Malibot, which was new to the report last month, remains a threat to users of mobile banking as it is still the third most prevalent mobile malware worldwide.

“Emotet continues to dominate our monthly top malware charts,” said Maya Horowitz, VP Research at Check Point Software. “This botnet continually evolves to maintain its persistence and evasion. Its latest developments include a credit card stealer module, meaning that enterprises and individuals must take extra care when making any online purchases. In addition, with Microsoft now confirming that it will block macros by default, we await to see how malwares, such as Snake Keylogger, may change their tactics.”

CPR also revealed this month that “Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure” is the most commonly exploited vulnerability, impacting 42% of organizations worldwide, closely followed by “Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution” with an impact of 41%. “Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal” has remained in third place, with a global impact of 39%.

Top Malware Families 

    *The arrows relate to the change in rank compared to the previous month.

Emotet continues to be the most widespread malware with a global impact of 7%. This is then followed by Formbook which impacts 3% of organizations worldwide, and then XMRig, with a 2% global impact.

  1. ↔ Emotet – Emotet is an advanced, self-propagating and modular Trojan. Emotet was once used as a banking Trojan, but recently is used as a distributer to other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can be spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links. 

  2. ↔ Formbook – Formbook is an Infostealer targeting the Windows OS and was first detected in 2016. It is marketed as Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) in underground hacking forums for its strong evasion techniques and relatively low price. FormBook harvests credentials from various web browsers, collects screenshots, monitors and logs keystrokes, and can download and execute files according to orders from its C&C.  

  3. ↑ XMRig – XMRig is open-source CPU mining software used to mine Monero cryptocurrency. Threat actors often abuse this open-source software by integrating it into their malware to conduct illegal mining on victim’s devices.

The complete list of the top ten malware families in July can be found on the Check Point blog.

Top Attacked Industries Globally 

Education/Research is still the most attacked industry globally, followed by Government/Military and Internet Service Providers/Managed Service Providers (ISP/MSP).

  1. Education & Research  
  2. Government/Military
  3. ISP/MSP

Top Exploited Vulnerabilities 

Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure” is the most commonly exploited vulnerability, impacting 42% of organizations globally. It is closely followed by “Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution” which dropped from first place to second with a slightly lower impact of 41%. “Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal” has remained in third place, with a global impact of 39%.

  1. Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure - An information disclosure vulnerability has been reported in Git Repository. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an unintentional disclosure of account information.
  2. Apache Log4j Remote Code Execution (CVE-2021-44228) – A remote code execution vulnerability exists in Apache Log4j. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the affected system. 
  3. ↔ Web Servers Malicious URL Directory Traversal (CVE-2010-4598,CVE-2011-2474,CVE-2014-0130,CVE-2014-0780,CVE-2015-0666,CVE-2015-4068,CVE-2015-7254,CVE-2016-4523,CVE-2016-8530,CVE-2017-11512,CVE-2018-3948,CVE-2018-3949,CVE-2019-18952,CVE-2020-5410,CVE-2020-8260) - There exists a directory traversal vulnerability on different web servers. The vulnerability is due to an input validation error in a web server that does not properly sanitize the URL for the directory traversal patterns. Successful exploitation allows unauthenticated remote attackers to disclose or access arbitrary files on the vulnerable server. 

Top Mobile Malwares 

AlienBot is the most prevalent mobile malware, followed by Anubis and MaliBot. 

  1. AlienBot - AlienBot malware family is a Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) for Android devices that allows a remote attacker, as a first step, to inject malicious code into legitimate financial applications. The attacker obtains access to victims’ accounts, and eventually completely controls their device.  

  2. Anubis - Anubis is a banking Trojan designed for Android mobile phones. Since it was initially detected, it has gained additional functions including Remote Access Trojan (RAT) functionality, keylogger, audio recording capabilities and various ransomware features. It has been detected on hundreds of different applications available in the Google Store. 

  3. MaliBot – Malibot is an Android infostealer malware that has been spotted targeting users in Spain and Italy. The infostealer disguises itself as crypto mining applications under different names and focuses on stealing financial information, crypto wallets and more personal data. 

Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index and its ThreatCloud Map is powered by Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence. ThreatCloud provides real-time threat intelligence derived from hundreds of millions of sensors worldwide, over networks, endpoints and mobiles. The intelligence is enriched with AI-based engines and exclusive research data from Check Point Research, The Intelligence & Research Arm of Check Point Software Technologies. 

The complete list of the top ten malware families in July can be found on the Check Point blog.  

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Check Point Research provides leading cyber threat intelligence to Check Point Software customers and the greater intelligence community. The research team collects and analyzes global cyber-attack data stored on ThreatCloud to keep hackers at bay, while ensuring all Check Point products are updated with the latest protections. The research team consists of over 100 analysts and researchers cooperating with other security vendors, law enforcement and various CERTs.  

About Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. 
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (www.checkpoint.com) is a leading provider of cyber security solutions to corporate enterprises and governments globally. Check Point Infinity´s portfolio of solutions protects enterprises and public organizations from 5th generation cyber-attacks with an industry leading catch rate of malware, ransomware and other threats. Infinity comprises three core pillars delivering uncompromised security and generation V threat prevention across enterprise environments: Check Point Harmony, for remote users; Check Point CloudGuard, to automatically secure clouds; and Check Point Quantum, to protect network perimeters and datacenters, all controlled by the industry’s most comprehensive, intuitive unified security management. Check Point protects over 100,000 organizations of all sizes.   

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