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State of Malware 2024

4/5 - (6 votes)

From malware to threats

Cybercrime is a thriving and highly organized business—a multi-billion-dollar mirror to the legitimate economy it feeds off. Its ecosystem supports entire supply chains which are dotted about with specialized organizations like access brokers and malicious software vendors. Ithas brand names, PR stunts, HR departments, incentive schemes, and “employees of the month.”

And like broader, law-abiding “Business” at large, cybercrime has settled on a collection of tools that work. Sit at a regular desktop computer in the US or Europe and you’ll see software that would have been familiar 15 years ago such as Microsoft Windows, Office, and a web browser.

Cybercrime has info stealers, phishing, and ransomware. Like Windows and Office, they are mature and effective, and for years the latest iterations have only offered marginal improvements on their predecessors. As a result, innovation in cybercrime has increasingly shifted towards tactics—advancements that focus more on how attacks can succeed and less on what malware can do.

Malware is as dangerous as ever, but when it is used, it is just one link in an attack chain of multiple different threats. IT and security teams now face “Living Off The Land” (LOTL) attacks, active adversaries, zero-day exploits, compromised accounts, social engineering, and a range of other threats that don’t meet the traditional definition of malware.

Against this backdrop, security budgets are shrinking while resource-constrained IT and security teams firefight ever more complex environments. More of the same will not work in 2024. Handling the burden of 24/7 adversaries, a dearth of deep security resources, and the proliferation of poorly integrated point security products will require a different approach to security.

Effective cyberdefense will require skilled and experienced security professionals identifying and investigating anomalous activity whenever it occurs, day or night, backed by sophisticated, tightly bundled, and easy-to-use security software equipped to take down not just malware, but cyberthreats of every stripe.

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