2023 Unit 42 Network Threat Trends Research Report

Exploitation of Vulnerabilities Increased 55% Compared to 2021

In this report, Palo Alto Networks Unit 42™ research team shares current trends in malware and the evolving threat landscape. This includes an analysis of the most common types of malware and their distribution methods.

With the growing volume and sophistication of today’s threats, it’s critical for network security professionals to understand the landscape and how to defend against it properly. Here are some key highlights of the findings:

  • We’ve seen a boom in traditional malware techniques taking advantage of interest in AI/ChatGPT.
  • The ratio of malware explicitly targeting the operational technology (OT) industry has increased by 27.5%.
  • Exploitation of vulnerabilities increased by 55% compared to 2021.
  • PDFs are the most popular file type for delivering malware as email attachments (66.6% of the total).
  • While 48.94% of network communication generated during sandbox analysis (including both malicious and benign files) uses encrypted SSL for its traffic, 12.91% of what is caused by malware is SSL traffic.
  • Cryptominer traffic doubled in 2022.

We also cover four malware predictions in 2023 and 10 key considerations as you assess your security posture.

With expert knowledge and recommendations, you can make your organization a less tempting target. Get the report today to learn more.

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