Symantec Intelligence Report September 2014

Symantec Intelligence aims to provide the latest analysis of cyber security threats, trends, and insights concerning malware, spam, and other potentially harmful business risks.

The average number of spear-phishing attacks rose to 53 per day in September, after a 12-month low in August. Spear phishing activity has returned to levels seen earlier in the summer, but is still down from the 12-month average of 85 attacks per day.

The .doc file type was the most common attachment type used in spear-phishing attacks, making up more than 52.9 percent of all attachments in September. At 4.8 percent, last month’s top attachment, .exe file types, dropped to fourth.

There were only four publically disclosed data breaches that took place within the month September, resulting in the exposure of 2.5 million identities. However, there were 14 additional data breaches reported in September that took place earlier in the year. The largest data breach reported in September actually took place in April, and resulted in the exposure of 56 million identities.

Ransomware continues to decline as 2014 progresses. However, crypto-style ransomware remains high, making up 38 percent of all ransomware detected in September.

There were 600 vulnerabilities disclosed in the month of September, the highest number so far in 2014 and second highest in last 12 months.

One in 2,041 emails was identified as a phishing attempt, compared with one in 1,587 for August. While at first glance this looks like a big drop, it results in only a 0.01 percentage point decrease in the overall phishing rate.

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