June 27, 2016 By Douglas Bonderud 2 min read

Security firm Check Point just released its list of the 10 Most Wanted Malware for May 2016. The Conficker worm grabbed the top spot, followed by banking Trojan Tinba and highly complex malware Sality. What’s more, the total number of active malware families spiked 15 percent last month with 2,300 unique global groups.

Here’s a look at the latest malware roundup.

Fickle Conficker?

As noted by eWEEK, the malware got its start in October 2008 when Microsoft revealed a flaw that opened the door to remotely compromise and infect Windows XP, 2000 and Server 2003. Within seven days a new worm was born, and by February 2009 the Conficker.C variant was tearing across vulnerable systems and avoiding antivirus programs.

Today the worm still accounts for 14 percent of all recognized attacks, even though support for all three original Windows targets has long since expired. Once infected, companies often disregard the worm as less pressing than other threats such as ransomware or banking Trojans.

According to SC Magazine, however, an infected system is vulnerable to both ongoing malware attacks and the theft of financial login credentials. Stopping Conficker and avoiding these threats demands antibot technologies and CPU-level sandboxing, according to Check Point’s intelligence group manager Maya Horowitz.

Tinba and Sality, meanwhile, are each on the hook for 9 percent of all malware infections worldwide. Taken together, the top 10 deliver 60 percent of all recognized attacks. It’s worth noting that they vary in vector and outcome: Seventh-place Hummingbird is Android malware capable of installing a persistent rootkit and fraudulent applications, and No. 9 is Virut, a botnet used for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Breaking New Ground

While the top 10 include old threats, new vectors and a host of sophisticated attack avenues, there are a number of up-and-coming concerns that are also worth a look. Consider the Godless malware currently making the rounds on Android devices.

According to BetaNews, the threat affects almost any device running version 5.1 (Lollipop) or earlier, which translates to around 90 percent of all Android devices worldwide. Once infected, Godless exploits root vulnerabilities to remotely download apps in the background or collect and send personal data to command-and-control (C&C) servers.

Even more worrisome? The rooting process is designed to occur only when the screen is turned off. As noted by Today Online, cybercriminals are also using a mix of old and new tech to scam users: Victims receive a phone call purportedly from courier services or government agencies directing them to immediately download a specific app.

No surprise: The calls are fake, and the app is malware that allows attackers to grab personal information. It’s proof positive that social engineering still works wonders to exploit average users.

May was a big month for malicious actors, with historic code Conficker taking top spot in the malware rankings. Banking Trojans stay strong, while worms, mobile malware, exploit kits and botnets all make an appearance in the top 10. Up-and-comers such as stealthy Android rootkits and phishing phone attacks round out this high-powered malware lineup.

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