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Avast Highlights the Threat Landscape for 2019

Avast’s 2019 Threat Landscape Report Warns of Adversarial AI, More
Sophisticated IoT Attacks and an Increase in Fake Apps

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (BUSINESS WIRE) Avast, the global leader in digital security products, today announced

the launch of its annual


, detailing the biggest security trends facing

consumers in 2019 as collected by the Avast Threat Labs team.

The Avast Threat Labs team sees roughly one million new files a day and

prevents two billion attacks every month. This volume provides valuable

insights into the most prevalent threats, as well as the ability to map

trends to predict future attacks.

Some of the key security trends that will evolve or continue to impact

consumers in 2019 include:

The Dawn of Adversarial AI

We foresee the emergence of a class of attacks known as ‘DeepAttacks’,

which use AI-generated content to evade AI security controls. In 2018,

the team observed many examples where researchers used adversarial AI

algorithms to fool humans. Examples include the fake Obama video created

by Buzzfeed where President Obama is seen delivering fake sentences, in

a convincing fashion.

We have also seen examples of adversarial AI deliberately confounding

the smartest object detection algorithms, such as fooling an algorithm

into thinking that a stop sign was a 45-mph speed limit sign.

In 2019, we expect to see DeepAttacks deployed more commonly in an

attempt to evade both human detection and smart defences.

IoT Threats Will Become More Sophisticated

The trend toward smart devices will be so pronounced in the coming years

that it will become difficult to buy appliances or home electronics that

are not connected to the internet.

Avast research has shown that security is often an afterthought in the

manufacturing of these devices. While the big name smart devices often

do come with embedded security options, some producers skimp on security

either to keep costs low for consumers or because they are not experts

in security. Considering a smart home is only as secure as its weakest

link, this is a mistake. History tends to repeat itself, so we can

expect to see IoT malware evolve and become more sophisticated and

dangerous, similar to how PC and mobile malware developed.

Router Attacks Will Advance

Routers have proven to be a simple and fertile target for a growing wave

of attacks. Not only have we seen an increase in router-based malware in

2018, but also changes in the characteristics of those attacks.

In 2019, we expect to see the increased hijacking of routers used to

steal banking credentials, for example, where an infected router injects

a malicious HTML frame to specific web pages when displayed on mobile.

This new element could ask mobile users to install a new banking app,

for instance, and this malicious app will then capture authentication

messages. Routers will continue to be used as targets of an attack, not

just to run malicious scripts or spy on users, but also as an

intermediate link in chain attacks.

The Evolution of Mobile Threats

In 2019, well known tactics such as advertising, phishing and fake apps

will continue to dominate the mobile threat landscape. In 2018, we

tracked and flagged countless fake apps using our apklab.io platform.

Some were even found on the Google Play Store. Fake apps are the zombies

in mobile security, becoming so ubiquitous that they barely even make

the headlines as new fake apps pop up to take the place of the ones

already flagged for removal. They will continue to persist as a trend in

2019, exacerbated by fake versions of popular app brands doing their

rounds on the Google Play Store.

In 2018, the return of banking Trojans was also particularly pronounced

on the mobile side, growing 150 percent year-on-year, from three percent

to over seven percent of all detections we see worldwide. While perhaps

not a big shift in terms of the overall volume, we believe that

cybercriminals are finding banking to be a more reliable way to make

money than cryptomining.

“This year, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web.

Fast forward thirty years and the threat landscape is exponentially more

complex, and the available attack surface is growing faster than it has

at any other point in the history of technology,” commented Ondrej

Vlcek, President of Consumer at Avast.

“PC viruses, while still a global threat, have been joined by a

multitude of malware categories that deliver more attacks. People are

acquiring more and varied types of connected devices, meaning every

aspect of our lives could be compromised by an attack. Looking ahead to

2019, these trends point to a magnification of threats through these

expanding threat surfaces.”

These trends form part of Avast’s annual Threat Report. To download the

full report please click here .

About Avast

Avast (LSE:AVST) is the global leader in digital security products. With

over 400 million users online, Avast offers products under the Avast and

AVG brands that protect people from threats on the internet and the

evolving IoT threat landscape. The company’s threat detection network is

among the most advanced in the world, using machine learning and

artificial intelligence technologies to detect and stop threats in real

time. Avast digital security products for Mobile, PC or Mac are

top-ranked and certified by VB100, AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, OPSWAT,

ICSA Labs, West Coast Labs and others. Visit: www.avast.com


Media Contact

Leonora Fleming

Avast Highlights the Threat Landscape for 2019
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