Threat Report Portugal Q4 2020: Phishing and malware by numbers.

The Portuguese Abuse Open Feed 0xSI_f33d is an open sharing database with the ability to collect indicators from multiple sources, developed and maintained by Segurança-Informática. This feed is based on automatic searches and also supported by a healthy community of contributors. This makes it a reliable and trustworthy and continuously updated source, focused on the threats targeting Portuguese citizens.

The Threat Report Portugal: Q4 2020 compiles data collected on the malicious campaigns that occurred from October to December, Q4, of 2020. The submissions were classified as either phishing or malware. In addition, the report highlights the threats, trends, and key takeaways of threats observed and reported into 0xSI_f33d. This report provides intelligence and indicators of compromise (IOCs) that organizations can use to fight current attacks, anticipating emerging threats, and manage security awareness in a better way.

 

Phishing and Malware Q4 2020

The results depicted in Figure 1 show that phishing campaigns (76,1%) were more prevalent than malware (23,9%) during Q4 2020. It is important to make a reference to the values of Q3  as phishing and malware maintain a growing trend.

 

Observing the threats by category from Jan to Dec in Figure 2, it is possible to verify that there was a high number of phishing campaigns during March, April, and Jun,  and this is a strong indicator related to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Analyzing these results, it’s possible to notice an increased number of phishing submissions in December 2020. One of the reasons that can explain this is the ANUBIS phishing network that occurred in Portugal between November and December 2020.

On the other hand, May, June, and August were the months where malware was spotlighted, with the botnet Mirai, Emotet, and the infamous Lampion Trojan in place. This piece of malware was identified at the end of December 2019 using template emails from the Portuguese Government Finance & Tax and Energias de Portugal (EDP) with the goal of collecting banking details from the victim’s devices. Also, other trojan bankers have been observed during Q3, including TroyStealer and Grandoreiro expanded now to Portugal. A new piece of malware was also tracked and analyzed during Q3 and active in Q4 – trojan URSA/mispadu. The emergent URSA trojan is impacting many countries using a sophisticated loader.

 

Malware by Numbers

Overall, the Emotet and Satori/Mirai botnet were some of the most prevalent threats affecting Portuguese citizens during Q4 2020 along with the mediatic URSA trojan (Figure 3). Other trojan bankers variants and families affecting users from different banks in Portugal were also observed. These kinds of malwares come from Brazil and the attacks are disseminated via phishing campaigns. Criminals are also using smishing to enlarge the scope and to impact a large group of victims.

 

Threats by Sector

Regarding the affected sectors (Figure 5), Banking was the most affected with both phishing and malware campaigns hitting Portuguese citizens during Q3 2020. Next, was Retail and Technology, as the most sectors affected in this season.

 

Threat campaigns during Q1 2021 will be published on a daily basis into 0xSI_f33d, as well as additional incidents and investigations that are being documented and published on Segurança-Informatica.

The infographic containing the report can be downloaded from here in printable format: PDF or PNG.

 

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