Join us at Netskope’s SASE Summit, coming to a city near you! Register now.

  • Security Service Edge Products

    Protect against advanced and cloud-enabled threats and safeguard data across all vectors.

  • Borderless SD-WAN

    Confidently provide secure, high-performance access to every remote user, device, site, and cloud.

  • Platform

    Unrivaled visibility and real-time data and threat protection on the world's largest security private cloud.

The platform of the future is Netskope

Intelligent Security Service Edge (SSE), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Cloud Firewall, Next Generation Secure Web Gateway (SWG), and Private Access for ZTNA built natively into a single solution to help every business on its journey to Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture.

Go to Products Overview
Netskope video
Borderless SD-WAN: Ushering in the New Era of Borderless Enterprise

Netskope Borderless SD-WAN offers an architecture that converges zero trust principles and assured application performance to provide unprecedented secure, high-performance connectivity for every site, cloud, remote user, and IoT device.

Read the article
Borderless SD-WAN
Netskope delivers a modern cloud security stack, with unified capabilities for data and threat protection, plus secure private access.

Explore our platform
Birds eye view metropolitan city
Make the move to market-leading cloud security services with minimal latency and high reliability.

Learn about NewEdge
Lighted highway through mountainside switchbacks
Safely enable the use of generative AI applications with application access control, real-time user coaching, and best-in-class data protection.

Learn how we secure generative AI use
Safely Enable ChatGPT and Generative AI
Zero trust solutions for SSE and SASE deployments

Learn about Zero Trust
Boat driving through open sea
Netskope enables a safe, cloud-smart, and fast journey to adopt cloud services, apps, and public cloud infrastructure.

Learn about Industry Solutions
Wind turbines along cliffside
  • Our Customers

    Netskope serves more than 2,000 customers worldwide including more than 25 of the Fortune 100

  • Customer Solutions

    We are here for you and with you every step of the way, ensuring your success with Netskope.

  • Training and Certification

    Netskope training will help you become a cloud security expert.

We help our customers to be Ready for Anything

See our Customers
Woman smiling with glasses looking out window
Netskope’s talented and experienced Professional Services team provides a prescriptive approach to your successful implementation.

Learn about Professional Services
Netskope Professional Services
Secure your digital transformation journey and make the most of your cloud, web, and private applications with Netskope training.

Learn about Training and Certifications
Group of young professionals working
  • Resources

    Learn more about how Netskope can help you secure your journey to the cloud.

  • Blog

    Learn how Netskope enables security and networking transformation through security service edge (SSE).

  • Events & Workshops

    Stay ahead of the latest security trends and connect with your peers.

  • Security Defined

    Everything you need to know in our cybersecurity encyclopedia.

Security Visionaries Podcast

Bonus Episode 2: The Magic Quadrant for SSE and Getting SASE Right
Mike and Steve discuss the Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge (SSE), Netskope’s positioning, and how the current economic climate will impact the SASE journey.

Play the podcast
Bonus Episode 2: The Magic Quadrant for SSE and Getting SASE Right
Latest Blogs

How Netskope can enable the Zero Trust and SASE journey through security service edge (SSE) capabilities.

Read the blog
Sunrise and cloudy sky
Netskope AWS Immersion Day World Tour 2023

Netskope has developed a variety of hands-on labs, workshops, in-depth webinars and demos to educate and assist AWS customers in the usage and deployment of Netskope products.

Learn about AWS Immersion Day
AWS Partner
What is Security Service Edge?

Explore the security side of SASE, the future of network and protection in the cloud.

Learn about Security Service Edge
Four-way roundabout
  • Company

    We help you stay ahead of cloud, data, and network security challenges.

  • Why Netskope

    Cloud transformation and work from anywhere have changed how security needs to work.

  • Leadership

    Our leadership team is fiercely committed to doing everything it takes to make our customers successful.

  • Partners

    We partner with security leaders to help you secure your journey to the cloud.

Supporting sustainability through data security

Netskope is proud to participate in Vision 2045: an initiative aimed to raise awareness on private industry’s role in sustainability.

Find out more
Supporting Sustainability Through Data Security
Highest in Execution. Furthest in Vision.

Netskope recognized as a Leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge.

Get the report
Netskope recognized as a Leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge.
Thinkers, builders, dreamers, innovators. Together, we deliver cutting-edge cloud security solutions to help our customers protect their data and people.

Meet our team
Group of hikers scaling a snowy mountain
Netskope’s partner-centric go-to-market strategy enables our partners to maximize their growth and profitability while transforming enterprise security.

Learn about Netskope Partners
Group of diverse young professionals smiling

Cloud and Threat Report: Cloudy with a Chance of Malware

Apr 28 2021

Cybercriminals are increasingly abusing popular cloud apps to deliver malware to their victims. In 2020, more than half of all the malware downloads detected and blocked by the Netskope Security Cloud platform originated from cloud apps. Cloud apps are commonly abused to deliver Trojans, with attackers attempting to exploit the trust placed in the app used for delivery. Increasingly, cloud apps are also abused for next-stage downloads, with attackers attempting to blend in with benign traffic. This blog post analyzes how attackers are abusing popular cloud apps and what you can do to defend yourself.

This blog post accompanies the release of the February 2021 Cloud and Threat Report, which analyzes 2020’s most interesting trends in enterprise cloud and web security. In addition to highlighting personal app usage, the Cloud and Threat Report also highlights four other trends:

Cloud vs. Web: The Trend

For each malware download, we determine whether the download originated from a cloud app or from the web based on its URL. If the URL matches one of the cloud apps signatures in our CCI database, then it is a “cloud app” download. Otherwise, it is a “web” download. For example, a file downloaded from somerandomwebsite[.]com/malware.exe does not match any of the signatures in our CCI database and is labeled a “web” download. A file downloaded from[.]com/file/d/abcd1234 matches the Google Drive signature in our CCI database and is labeled a “cloud” download.

The following chart shows that the percentage of malware downloads from cloud apps has increased 14 points from 48% in Q1 2020 to 62% in Q1 2021. At the beginning of 2020, the majority of malware downloads came from the web. Starting in Q2 2020, the majority of malware downloads came from cloud apps, and that percentage continues to grow quarter-over-quarter.

Chart showing the percentage of malware downloads from cloud apps

Breakdown by app

Which cloud apps are the malware downloads detected on the Netskope Security Cloud platform coming from? In general, cybercriminals abuse popular apps to host malware. By selecting popular cloud apps, they aim to bypass blocklists that might block traditional malware delivery infrastructure. They also aim to exploit trust that users place in these popular apps. In other words, cybercriminals go wherever the users are. While the Netskope Security Cloud detected malware downloads from 166 distinct cloud apps in the past 18 months, the downloads were heavily concentrated in the most popular apps. The most popular webmail and cloud storage apps accounted for 70% of the total malware downloads:

  • Amazon S3
  • Box
  • GitHub
  • Google Drive
  • Google Gmail
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Microsoft
  • Sourceforge

While cloud apps are most commonly used for initial Trojan downloads, cybercriminals have also used them to host next-stage downloads. The GuLoader Trojan downloader was used by multiple threat actors in the past 18 months to download next-stage payloads from Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. GuLoader was the most common source of next-stage payloads in the cloud on the Netskope Security Cloud platform in 2020.

Breakdown by file type

The distribution of the types of files differs between cloud apps and the web. From the web, the majority of malware downloads are of Windows Portable Executable (PE) files, like EXEs and DLLs. The other half are archive files, like Zip files, Microsoft Office file formats, and other types, like scripts and JARs.

Pie chart showing breakdown of web malware by file type

By comparison, malware files downloaded from cloud apps are more evenly distributed among these four file types, with PE files representing only one-quarter of all downloads and Office files notably representing 15.9% (compared to 4.5% for web malware downloads). In other words, the surge in malicious Office documents we observed in 2020 was driven primarily by malicious Office documents downloaded from cloud apps.

Pie chart showing breakdown of cloud malware by file type

Data analysis

The analysis presented in this blog post is based on anonymized usage data collected by the Netskope Security Cloud platform relating to a subset of Netskope customers with prior authorization.


The rise in the popularity of cloud apps as a channel for cybercriminals to deliver malware is a result of the overall rise in popularity of cloud apps—cybercriminals go wherever their victims are. Because nearly any cloud app can be abused as a malware distribution channel, organizations should enact policies to scan all content entering their networks—from the web or from the cloud—for malware.

author image
Ray Canzanese
Ray is the Director of Netskope Threat Labs, which specializes in cloud-focused threat research. His background is in software anti-tamper, malware detection and classification, cloud security, sequential detection, and machine learning.