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Threat Labs
Report: Canada

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The Netskope Threat Labs Report highlights a different segment every month. This report series aims to provide strategic, actionable intelligence on active threats against users in each segment. The segment highlighted in this report is users working in Canada.
Netskope Threat Labs Report
8 min read

In This Report link link

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Cloud App Adoption: Microsoft OneDrive, the most popular app worldwide, is even more popular in Canada than in other parts of the world, with the rest of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem following a similar trend.

Cloud App Abuse: More than half of all malware downloads in Canada come from cloud apps, with a significant percentage coming from Microsoft OneDrive and GitHub.

Malware & Ransomware: Among the most prevalent malware families targeting victims in Canada are the remote access Trojan NjRat, the Trojan Formbook, and the infostealer AgentTesla.

Cloud App Adoption link link

The average user in Canada interacts with an average of 24 cloud apps per month, the highest number of all regions by a small margin. The top 1% of users interacted with 90 apps per month.

Average apps per user Canada vs Other Regions - Last 12 Months

Similarly, users in Canada downloaded data from cloud apps at a slightly higher rate than others, with 96% of Canadian users downloading data from cloud apps versus 94% in other regions. Furthermore, users in Canada uploaded data at a considerably higher rate than other regions, with 75% of Canadian users uploading data while other regions averaged 67%.

Percentage of users uploading data Canada vs Other Regions - Last 12 Months

Most Popular Cloud Apps

Worldwide, Microsoft OneDrive is the most popular cloud app, showing up in first place in all of the industries and regions we have reported on to date. Canada stands out among other regions because Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint are even more popular, with OneDrive 12 points ahead of other regions and Sharepoint 7 points ahead of other regions.

Overall App Popularity Canada vs Other Regions

Top Apps Used for Uploads

The popularity of Microsoft OneDrive shines even more when considering the percentage of users uploading files to the cloud storage app. Thirty-five percent of Canadian users upload data to OneDrive daily, 15 points higher than in other regions.

Apps Used for Uploads Canada vs Other Regions

Top Apps Used for Downloads

OneDrive is also the most popular app for downloads in Canada, with 36% of users downloading from it, followed by SharePoint with 22%, both with significant leads over other regions.

Apps Used for Downloads Canada vs Other Regions

Cloud App Abuse link link

Cloud Malware Delivery

The percentage of malware downloads from cloud apps has decreased gradually from its peak a year ago, hovering around 50%, with approximately half of all malware downloads over HTTP and HTTPS coming from popular cloud apps and the other half coming from regular websites globally. Canada has been no exception and has also followed this worldwide trend.  The abuse of cloud apps allows the malware to fly under the radar and evade regular security controls that rely on tools such as domain block lists or that do not inspect cloud traffic.

Malware Delivery, Cloud vs. Web, Canada vs Other Regions - Last 12 Months

Comparing Canada to the other regions in this report puts it in sixth place with 52% of malware downloads sourced from the cloud over the last year. This is just 2 points behind the leader (Asia) and two points ahead of the region in last place (Middle East).

Malware Sourced from the Cloud Last 12 Months Average - Canada

Cloud Apps Abused for Malware Delivery

A recurring theme throughout this report is that Microsoft OneDrive is the most popular app in Canada. That theme continues in this section, highlighting Microsoft OneDrive as the cloud app with the highest percentage of malware downloads. However, unlike the preceding sections, it lags slightly behind other regions’ popularity. Instead, other apps including GitHub, SharePoint, and Weebly show a higher percentage of malware downloads than other regions. Twitter (now known as X) made a notable appearance in the top 10 for Canada due to users clicking malicious links on that platform that led them to download malware. Adversaries abuse Microsoft OneDrive because it is the most popular cloud storage app. Meanwhile, people who regularly use Microsoft OneDrive are more likely to click on links to download files shared with them on that platform. Therefore, the number of malware downloads that Netskope detects and blocks from Microsoft OneDrive is both a reflection of adversary tactics (abusing OneDrive to distribute malware) and victim behavior (their likelihood to click on the links and download the malware).

Top Cloud Apps Abused for Malware Download Last 12 Months Canada vs Other Regions

Top Malware & Ransomware Families link link

This list contains the top 10 malware and ransomware families detected by Netskope targeting users in the Canada region in the last 12 months:

Backdoor.ChinaChopper is a WebShell malware that infects Web servers to provide access back into an enterprise network that does not rely on an infected system calling back to a remote command and control server.

Infostealer.AgentTesla is a .NET-based remote access Trojan with many capabilities, such as stealing browser passwords, capturing keystrokes, and stealing the clipboard.

Phishing.PhishingX is a malicious PDF file used in a phishing campaign to redirect victims to a phishing page.

RAT.Remcos is a remote access trojan that provides an extensive list of features for controlling devices remotely.

RAT.NetWiredRC (a.k.a. NetWire RC) is a malware associated with APT33, aimed to provide remote access and steal sensitive information, like passwords.

RAT.NjRAT (a.k.a. Bladabindi) is a remote access Trojan with many capabilities, including logging keystrokes, stealing credentials from browsers, accessing the victim’s camera, and managing files.

Trojan.FormBook (a.k.a. XLoader) is a malware that provides full control over infected machines, offering many functionalities such as stealing passwords and executing additional malware.

Trojan.ModernLoader (a.k.a. Avatar Bot) is malware that can collect basic system information and deliver multiple malware types, such as cryptominers and RATs, to the infected system.

Trojan.Ursnif (a.k.a. Gozi) is a banking Trojan and backdoor, whose source code was leaked on GitHub in 2005, allowing attackers to create and distribute many variants.

Trojan.Valyria (a.k.a. POWERSTATS) is a family of malicious Microsoft Office documents that contain embedded malicious VBScripts, usually to deliver other malicious payloads.

Recommendations link link

This report highlighted increasing cloud adoption, including increased data uploaded to and downloaded from various cloud apps. It also highlighted an increasing trend of attackers abusing various cloud apps, especially popular enterprise apps, to deliver malware (mostly Trojans) to their victims. Netskope Threat Labs recommends organizations in Canada review their security posture to ensure that they are adequately protected against these trends:

  • Inspect all HTTP and HTTPS downloads, including all web and cloud traffic, to prevent malware from infiltrating your network. Netskope customers can configure their Netskope NG-SWG with a Threat Protection policy that applies to downloads from all categories and applies to all file types.
  • Ensure that high-risk file types like executables and archives are thoroughly inspected using a combination of static and dynamic analysis before being downloaded. Netskope Advanced Threat Protection customers can use a Patient Zero Prevention Policy to hold downloads until they have been fully inspected.
  • Configure policies to block downloads from apps and instances that are not used in your organization to reduce your risk surface to only those apps and instances that are necessary for the business.
  • Configure policies to block uploads to apps and instances that are not used in your organization to reduce the risk of accidental or deliberate data exposure from insiders or abuse by attackers.
  • Use an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) that can identify and block malicious traffic patterns, such as command and control traffic associated with popular malware. Blocking this type of communication can prevent further damage by limiting the attacker’s ability to perform additional actions.
  • Use Remote Browser Isolation (RBI) technology to provide additional protection when there is a need to visit websites that fall into categories that can present higher risk, like Newly Observed and Newly Registered Domains.

Netskope Threat Labs link link

Staffed by the industry’s foremost cloud threat and malware researchers, Netskope Threat Labs discovers, analyzes, and designs defenses against the latest cloud threats affecting enterprises. Our researchers are regular presenters and volunteers at top security conferences, including DefCon, BlackHat, and RSA.

About This Report link link

Netskope provides threat protection to millions of users worldwide. Information presented in this report is based on anonymized usage data collected by the Netskope Security Cloud platform relating to a subset of Netskope customers with prior authorization.

This report contains information about detections raised by Netskope’s Next Generation Secure Web Gateway (SWG), not considering the significance of the impact of each individual threat. Stats in this report are based on the period starting March 1, 2023 through February 29, 2024. Stats are a reflection of attacker tactics, user behavior, and organization policy.

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In the monthly Netskope Threat Labs Report, you will find the top 5 malicious domains, malware, and apps that the Netskope Security Cloud platform blocked plus recent publications and a threat roundup.

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