Check Point Press Releases

December 2019’s Most Wanted Malware: Christmas and Greta Thunberg-themed Spam Used to Spread Emotet Malware

Check Point’s researchers also report sharp increase in exploits against the ‘Command Injection Over HTTP’ vulnerability, impacting 33% of organizations globally

San Carlos, CA  —  Mon, 13 Jan 2020

Check Point Research, the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, has published its latest Global Threat Index for December 2019. The research team reported that Emotet was the leading malware threat for the third month running, and was being  spread using a range of spam email campaigns including ‘Support Greta Thunberg – Time Person of the Year 2019’ and ‘Christmas Party!’

The emails in both campaigns contained a malicious Microsoft Word document which, if opened by the recipient, attempts to download Emotet onto their computer. Emotet is primarily used as a distributor of ransomware or other malicious campaigns.

December also saw a significant increase in attempts to exploit the ‘Command Injection Over HTTP’ vulnerability, with 33% of organizations globally being targeted.  This vulnerability rose from being the 5th most exploited in November to the top position last month. If successfully exploited, the payload was a DDoS botnet:  the malicious file used in the attack also contained a number of links to payloads exploiting vulnerabilities in several IoT devices from manufacturers including D-Link, Huawei and RealTek, with the aim of recruiting these devices into botnets.

“Over the past three months, the threats impacting most organizations have been versatile, multi-purpose malware like Emotet and xHelper. These give cyber-criminals multiple options for monetizing attacks, as they can be used for distributing ransomware or spreading further spam campaigns,” said Maya Horowitz, Director, Threat Intelligence & Research, Products at Check Point. “The aim for criminals is to get a foothold in as many organizations and devices as possible, so that subsequent attacks can be more lucrative and damaging.  So it’s critical that organizations educate their employees about the risks of opening email attachments, downloading resources or clicking on links that do not come from a trusted source or contact.”

December 2019’s Top 3 ‘Most Wanted’ Malware:

*The arrows relate to the change in rank compared to the previous month.

Emotet impacted 13% of organizations globally in December, up from 9% in November. XMRig and Trickbot each impacted 7% of organizations.

  1. Emotet – Emotet is an advanced, self-propagating and modular Trojan. Emotet was formerly a banking Trojan, and recently has been used as a distributor of other malware or malicious campaigns. It uses multiple methods for maintaining persistence and evasion techniques to avoid detection. In addition, it can be spread through phishing spam emails containing malicious attachments or links.
  2.    ↔ XMRig – XMRig is an open-source CPU mining software used for the mining process of the Monero cryptocurrency, and first seen in-the-wild on May 2017.
  3.    ↔ Trickbot – Trickbot is a dominant banking Trojan constantly being updated with new capabilities, features and distribution vectors. This enables Trickbot to be a flexible and customizable malware that can be distributed as part of multi purposed campaigns.

December’s Top 3 ‘Most Wanted’ Mobile Malware:

xHelper and Guerrilla continue to hold the top two positions of the mobile malware index.

  1. ↔ xHelper – A malicious Android application seen in the wild since March 2019, used for downloading other malicious apps and display advertisements. The application is capable of hiding itself from the user and mobile anti-virus programs, and reinstalls itself if the user uninstalls it.
  2. ↔ Guerrilla –  An Android Trojan found embedded in multiple legitimate apps which is capable of downloading additional malicious payloads. Guerrilla generates fraudulent ad revenue for the app developers.
  3. ↑  Hiddad – Android malware which repackages legitimate apps and then releases them to a third-party store. Its main function is to display ads, but it can also access key security details built into the OS


December’s ‘Most Exploited’ vulnerabilities:

The ‘Command Injection Over HTTP’ was the most common exploited vulnerability, impacting 33% of organizations globally. In 2nd place, the MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution vulnerability impacted 32% of organizations, and the Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure impacted 29%.

  1. ↑  Command Injection Over HTTP – A command Injection over HTTP vulnerability can be exploited by a remote attacker by sending a specially crafted request to the victim. Successful exploitation would allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target machine.
  2. ↔ MVPower DVR Remote Code Execution – A remote code execution vulnerability exists in MVPower DVR devices. A remote attacker can exploit this weakness to execute arbitrary code in the affected router via a crafted request.
  3. ↑ Web Server Exposed Git Repository Information Disclosure – An information disclosure vulnerability has been reported in Git Repository. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an unintentional disclosure of account information.

Check Point’s Global Threat Impact Index and its ThreatCloud Map is powered by Check Point’s ThreatCloud intelligence, the largest collaborative network to fight cybercrime which delivers threat data and attack trends from a global network of threat sensors. The ThreatCloud database holds over 250 million addresses analyzed for bot discovery, more than 11 million malware signatures and over 5.5 million infected websites, and identifies millions of malware types daily.

The complete list of the top 10 malware families in December can be found on the Check Point Blog.


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About Check Point Research

Check Point Research provides leading cyber threat intelligence to Check Point Software customers and the greater intelligence community. The research team collects and analyzes global cyber-attack data stored on ThreatCloud to keep hackers at bay, while ensuring all Check Point products are updated with the latest protections. The research team consists of over 100 analysts and researchers cooperating with other security vendors, law enforcement and various CERTs.


About Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. ( is a leading provider of cyber security solutions to governments and corporate enterprises globally. Its solutions protect customers from 5th generation cyber-attacks with an industry leading catch rate of malware, ransomware and other types of attacks. Check Point offers multilevel security architecture, “Infinity” Total Protection with Gen V advanced threat prevention, which defends enterprises’ cloud, network and mobile device held information. Check Point provides the most comprehensive and intuitive one point of control security management system. Check Point protects over 100,000 organizations of all sizes.


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