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Customer education key as malware rises

Trend Micro is calling on resellers to help better educate organisations and consumers about heightened security risks as the security company’s latest report shows a steady rise in malware detections in New Zealand.

The Q3 security roundup report, Vulnerabilities under attack: Shedding light on the growing attack surface, shows more than 1.7 million malware detections in New Zealand in Q3, up from 1.3 in Q2 and 1.2 in Q1.

Malicious links have almost stabilised, with more than 3.3 million malicious URLs clicked in Q3, slightly down from Q2.

Q3 saw the discovery of Shellshock, which threatened more than half a billion services and devices worldwide, notes Trend Micro.

Jon Oliver, Trend Micro ANZ senior software design architect, says the findings confirm we are battling rapidly moving cybercriminals and evolving vulnerabilities simultaneously.

“With this fluidity, it’s time to embrace the fact that compromises will continue and we shouldn't be alarmed or surprised when they occur,” Oliver says.

“Preparation is key and as an industry we must better educate organisations and consumers about heightened risks as attacks grow in volume and in sophistication.

“Understanding that cybercriminals are finding vulnerabilities and potential loopholes in every device and platform possible will help us confront these challenges so technology can be used in a positive way.”

The report also shows threat actors are targeting large retailers’ POS systems to execute ‘massive’ data breaches.

“This ongoing practice further indicates that POS networks are highly accessible and vulnerable,” Trend Micro says.

“Cyber thieves also utilized updated versions of older versions of popular malware and online banking malware to successfully target victims.”

Tim Falinski, Trend Micro ANZ director, consumer, says the report shows New Zealand consumers still need to be educated about their online vulnerability, especially as threats become more complex.

“With the report revealing an increase in cybercriminals targeting retailers’ point-of-sale systems, consumers need to be extra vigilant heading into the holiday shopping season and new year sales, which is typically a time of year that sees an increase in cybercrime.”