Ibm X-Force released the Threat Intelligence Index 2020 Report that summarises the main global trends regarding security threats in 2019, the latest of which is represented by the Emotet virus that hit Japan using spam messages containing

The Emotet virus has begun its spread in Japan probably because of its proximity to China; moreover, it is quite common that human emotions, such as fear, are exploited in threats, especially if a global event has already caused terror and panic.

The report is based on the monitoring of 70 billion daily security events in 130 countries and on data collected and analysed by IBM X-Force IRIS, X-Force Red and IBM Managed Security Services.

This year highlights how phishing has become a way like another for the theft of credentials and the use of system vulnerabilities as the main entry for hackers. Since 2018, when phishing was used in half of the cases, it now represents the first vector of infection in less than one third of the incidents, or 31%.

Through the use of automation, attackers in 2019 opted for the use of password repositories and patchless vulnerabilities as a method to reap victims.

With more than 150,000 vulnerabilities disclosed to date, the scan and exploitation of these vulnerabilities was 30% of the incidents analysed, compared to…8% in 2018.

The most dated and known vulnerabilities of Microsoft Office and Windows Server Message Block have reached alarming rates of use in 2019.

In 2019, the retail sector was ranked second for attacks suffered. This placement also includes a significant amount of ransomware attacks to retailers, as can be seen from the Ibm report. Assailants seek consumer personal information, card data and even valuable information from loyalty programs.

In addition, to encourage consumers to click on malicious links, hackers use trust placed in brands as bait. Google and YouTube domains alone account for over 60% of spoofing attempts, but the top 10 of the most hit brands in this sense also include Netflix, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

Ransomware and Trojan banking have also grown exponentially: the partnership between ransomware and Trojan banking is growing ever more and both are with a new code in 2019.

Ibm experts have highlighted the motivation behind hacker attacks and have formulated advice on how consumers can protect themselves.

Do not click or open links directly from the email address, but search directly for the main domain of the link or the name of the brand or company via your search engine.

Make sure that the anti-virus software and associated files are up to date.

Seek evidence of the existence of the compromised indicator (IOC) indicated within the system.

Block all URL-based and IP-based IOCs on firewalls, IDS, web gateways, routers or other perimeter-based devices, a course of action, resources or applications to remedy this threat.

Keep your applications and operating systems running at the currently released patch level.

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