The fourth quarter of 2017 saw the rise of newly diversified cybercriminals, according to McAfee Labs Threats Report: March 2018. as a significant number of actors embraced novel criminal activities to capture new revenue streams. For instance, the spike in the value of Bitcoin prompted actors to branch out from moneymakers such as ransomware, to the practice of hijacking Bitcoin and Monero wallets. McAfee researchers discovered Android apps developed exclusively for the purpose of cryptocurrency mining and observed discussions in underground forums suggesting Litecoin as a safer model than Bitcoin, with less chance of exposure.
Cybercriminals also continued to adopt fileless malware leveraging Microsoft PowerShell, which surged 432 percent over the course of 2017, as the threat category became a go-to toolbox. The scripting language was used within Microsoft Office files to execute the first stage of attacks.
Although publicly disclosed security incidents targeting health care decreased by 78 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, the sector experienced a dramatic 210% overall increase in incidents in 2017. Through their investigations, McAfee Advanced Threat Research analysts conclude many incidents were caused by organizational failure to comply with security best practices or address known vulnerabilities in medical software.