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September 26, 2017

Malware strikes back hitting Facebook, healthcare and education hard

Healthcare continues to show major cybersecurity weakness across the globe, with recent instances such as the WannaCry ransomware attack standing testament to this.

By Tom Ball

Malware has surged in the second quarter of 2017 with a 67 per cent increase, driven by the prevalence of the Faceliker variant.

Mobile malware has also been increasing substantially and consistently throughout the previous four quarters, having now grown by 61 per cent in that time.

The health, public and education sectors are proving to be by far the most vulnerable to malware threats, with attacks on these sectors amounting to half of the total global incidents between 2016 and 2017.

McAfee Labs are responsible for these statistics, having recently conducted a report which also noted that Healthcare accounts for 26 per cent of the security incidents in the second quarter of 2017, proving to be a critically weak sector globally.

Malware strikes back hitting Facebook, healthcare and education hard

Facebook was also found to be a prominent attack vector in the second                quarter of 2017, with Faceliker proving particularly formidable, placing social media users among the most vulnerable targets.

Faceliker works by infecting the browsers of users and then hijacking the ‘like’ option on Facebook to endorse certain content for financial gain.

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Vincent Weafer, Vice President for McAfee Labs, said: “Faceliker leverages and manipulates the social media and app based communications we increasingly use today… By making apps or news articles appear more popular, accepted and legitimate among friends, unknown actors can covertly influence the way we perceive value and even truth. As long as there is profit in such efforts, we should expect to see more such schemes in the future.”

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New macro malware has also grown as a threat, up by 35 per cent, with new ransomware also surging with a 54 per cent increase. Malware affecting Mac OS has reduced however, now down to only 4 per cent.

“Whether physical or digital, data breaches in healthcare highlight the value of the sensitive personal information organisations in the sector possess… They also reinforce the need for stronger corporate security policies that work to ensure the safe handling of that information,” said Weafer.

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