Trend Micro Incorporated released new research on the state of Linux security in the first half of 2021. The report gives valuable insight into how Linux operating systems are being targeted as organizations increase their digital footprint in the cloud and the pervasive threats that make up the Linux threat landscape.
As of 2017, 90% of public clouds workloads ran on Linux. According to GartnerÒ, “Rising interest in cloud-native architectures is prompting questions about the future need for server virtualization in the data center. The most common driver is Linux-OS-based virtualization, which is the basis for containers”
Linux allows organizations to make the most of their cloud-based environments and power their digital transformation strategies. Many of today’s most cutting-edge IoT devices and cloud-based applications and technology run on some flavor of Linux, making it a critical area of modern technology to secure.
“In the industry, we see some very creative attacks and we have to stay ahead. Protecting the company, our employees, and our intellectual property is a priority,” says John Breen, Global Head of Cybersecurity at Flowserve. “We’ll continue to work closely and collaborate with Trend Micro to ensure our people and our company remain protected.”
The report investigates the top malware families affecting Linux servers during the first half of 2021, with the top types of malware being:
- 25% Coinminers – The high prevalence of cryptocurrency miners is of little surprise given the clear motive of the seemingly endless amount of computing power the cloud holds, making it the perfect environment.
- 20% Web shells – The recent Microsoft Exchange Attack, which leveraged web shells, showed the importance of patching against this type of malware
- 12% Ransomware – The most prevalent detected was the modern ransomware family, DoppelPaymer, however, some other notable ransomware families seen targeting Linux systems as well are RansomExx, DarkRadiation, and the Darkside.
“It’s safe to say that Linux is here to stay, and as organizations continue to move to Linux-based cloud workloads, malicious actors will follow,” said Aaron Ansari, vice president of Cloud Security for Trend Micro. “We have seen this as a main priority to ensure our customers receive the best security across their workloads, no matter the operating system they choose to run it on.”
The report revealed that most detections arose from systems running end-of-life versions of Linux distributions, including 44% from CentOS versions 7.4 to 7.9. In addition, 200 different vulnerabilities were targeted in Linux environments in just six months. This means attacks on Linux are likely taking advantage of outdated software with unpatched vulnerabilities.