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From elections to North Korea nuclear threats and missile launches, cyber actors are using geopolitical events to achieve cyber activism and other goals, a new report found.

In the Internet era, all major real-world events have a reflection in cyberspace, according to a report by security provider Comodo.

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Just look at the malware attacks Comodo found that coincided with geopolitical events:
• U.S. elections: A massive spike in Kryptik Trojans occurred on Oct. 24, 2017, with more than 94 percent of nearly 300,000 Trojans focused on the state of Virginia, where a close and hard-fought gubernatorial election took place.
• East Asia: China experienced malware growth, with a virus surge of nearly 20,000 when China’s President Xi visited the U.S. in April 2017 and North Korea fired test missiles. Similarly, Trojan attacks in China spiked to 30,000 during the Silk Road Summit in early to mid-May 2017, 40,000 in early August 2017 after an earthquake and a U.S.-China naval dispute, and 55,000 on Sept. 3, 2017, after China joined the U.S. and Russia in condemning a North Korea nuclear test.
• North Korea: Comodo is one of the few commercial cybersecurity companies with visibility into North Korea. We witnessed a startling Trojan increase in the country on Sept. 19, 2017, corresponding with a speech at the United Nations where U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to destroy North Korea.

Graphic by Comodo

Schneider Bold

The report also charts changes in malware pattern detections across countries, industries and events.

Top Malware Types: Trojans (41 percent), Applications (24 percent), Backdoors (10 percent)
• Comodo Malware Detections
Trojans in 225 countries; Russia #1 at 9 percent
Applications in 226 countries; U.S. #1 at 3 percent
Backdoors in 184 countries; Russia #1 at 19 percent
Worms in 200 countries; Russia #1 at 19 percent
Unsafe applications in 183 countries; U.S. #1 at 4 percent
Unwanted applications in 184 countries; U.S. #1 at 5 percent – Viruses in 190 countries; U.S. #1 at 9 percent
Malware packers in 189 countries; U.S. #1 at 2 percent

• Top Ten Countries of Detection
Russia, U.S., Brazil, India, Canada, Germany, China, Poland, Turkey, UK

• Malware Trends
Most malware types remained even or declined in Q4 2017
Notable exception: backdoors saw a significant rise in Q4 2017 – Comodo predicts that backdoors will continue to rise in Q1 2018

Click here to download the full report.

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