For data security buffs like me, the recent McAfee® Labs Threats Report, December 2018 is, or should be, a top pick on the list. Well, maybe not for the holiday reading list, and we need to be careful not to bring up the results during holiday parties.

I warn you that it is not an uplifting read, but a dark one that is necessary to stay on top of the most recent threats to businesses and individuals.

The report can be accessed here. It is a compilation of “the notable investigative research and trends in threats statistics and observations gathered” by McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research and Labs teams from the third quarter of 2018.

The report is divided into nine sections:

  • Underground Forums Boost the Effectiveness of Cybercriminals
  • Ransomware Families Decline in November
  • Cryptomining Boom Times Continue
  • Mobil Threats Fueled by Fake Apps
  • Banking Trojans Turn to Uncommon File Types
  • Exploit Kits Add Support for Vulnerabilities, Ransomware
  • Vulnerabilities Open Door to Shellcode, Privilege Escalation
  • Targeted Attacks Motivated by Cyber Espionage
  • Threats Statistics

Some takeaways include the fact that Internet of Things (IoT) malware was up 73 percent in the 3rd quarter, financial sector data breaches increased 20 percent in the third quarter, and although unique ransomware families declined, new ransomware increased by 10 percent.

New malware targeting IoT devices grew 203 percent in the past four quarters, new coinmining malware increased 55 percent, and total malware grew by 4,467 percent in the past four quarters. Cyber criminals are taking advantage of lax security in IoT devices and using them, such as cameras and video recorders to create a cryptomining supercomputer.

The conclusion of the report is that “the effectiveness of cybercriminals is increasing.” Tell us something we don’t know. If you read the report, you will begin to understand just what sophistication is being used and how effective it really is.