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Top 10 Malware September 2018

In September, malware activity increased by 20%, a change that was primarily driven by the 32% increase in the Top 10 Malware. In turn, the rise in Top 10 Malware activity is attributed to increased Emotet (60%) and WannaCry (252%) activity.

During September 2018, the dropped, malspam, multiple, and network vectors experienced an increase in activity. Malspam continues to dominate as the primary infection vector with nearly 60% of the Top 10 Malware being delivered by this method. The malspam category slightly increased due to elevated Emotet activity. Malware in the Top 10 Malware continued to not use malvertisement as a delivery mechanism. The multiple category increased slightly due to a slight uptick in ZeuS activity. The dropped vector increased due to elevated Gh0st and Mirai activity reaching the Top 10 Malware list. Activity associated with the network vector increased by 250% due to a WannaCry outbreak in a singular entity.




The MS-ISAC Top 10 Malware refers to the top 10 new actionable event notifications of non-generic malware signatures sent out by the MS-ISAC Security Operations Center (SOC).

Dropped – Malware delivered by other malware already on the system, an exploit kit, infected third-party software, or manually by a cyber threat actor.

Malvertisement – Malware introduced through a malicious advertisement.

Multiple – Refers to malware that currently favors at least two vectors.

Malspam – Unsolicited emails, which either direct users to download malware from malicious websites or trick the user into opening malware through an attachment.

Network – Malware introduced through the abuse of legitimate network protocols or tools, such as SMB or remote PowerShell.

Top 10 Malware in September 2018

  1. Emotet is a modular infostealer that downloads or drops banking trojans. It can be delivered through either malicious download links or attachments, such as PDF or macro-enabled Word documents. Emotet also incorporates spreader modules in order to propagate throughout a network. In September 2018, Emotet was observed dropping Zeus Panada, a remote access Trojan (RAT).
  2. WannaCry is a ransomware cryptoworm that uses the EternalBlue exploit to spread via SMB. Version 1.0 has a “killswitch” domain, which stops the encryption process.
  3. Kovter is a fileless click fraud malware and a downloader that evades detection by hiding in registry keys. Reporting indicates that Kovter can have backdoor capabilities and uses hooks within certain APIs for persistence.
  4. ZeuS is a modular banking trojan which uses keystroke logging to compromise victim credentials when the user visits a banking website. Since the release of the ZeuS source code in 2011, many other malware variants have adopted parts of its codebase, which means that events classified as ZeuS may actually be other malware using parts of the ZeuS code.
  5. CoinMiner is a cryptocurrency miner that uses Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and EternalBlue to spread across a network. CoinMiner uses the WMI Standard Event Consumer scripting to execute scripts for persistence.
  6. NanoCore is a RAT spread via malspam as a malicious Excel XLS spreadsheet. As a RAT, NanoCore can accept commands to download and execute files, visit websites, and add registry keys for persistence.
  7. Gh0st is a RAT used to control infected endpoints. Gh0st is dropped by other malware to create a backdoor into a device that allows an attacker to fully control the infected device.
  8. Mirai is a malware botnet known to compromise Internet of Things (IoT) devices in order to conduct large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Mirai is dropped after an exploit has allowed the attacker to gain access to a machine.
  9. Trickbot is a modular banking trojan that is known to be dropped by Emotet as well as spread via malspam campaigns. Trickbot is known to download the IcedID banking trojan.
  10. AZORult is an infostealer that is known to be dropped by IcedID banking trojan as well as spread via malspam campaigns. The malware is known to both steal information and install Hermes ransomware.