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Threat Labs Report: Europe 2024

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This report examines the cloud adoption and threat trends affecting organizations in Europe over the past 12 months, highlighting attackers consistently using social engineering to target users with Trojans via popular cloud apps.
Netskope Threat Labs Report
7 min read

In This Report link link

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Cloud App Adoption: Users in Europe upload and download files to cloud apps at almost the same frequency as users worldwide, but tend to interact with fewer cloud apps on average. Europe also shows a strong preference for Microsoft apps, with Microsoft OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams being the region’s top three most used apps.

Cloud App Abuse: Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint had the most malware downloads in Europe, followed by GitHub in third place.

Malware & Ransomware: Among the most prevalent malware families targeting victims in Europe were the remote access Trojan Remcos, the downloader Guloader, and the infostealer AgentTesla.

Cloud App Adoption link link

The average user in Europe interacts with 20 cloud apps per month, while the top 1% interact with 78 apps per month. European users use fewer apps on average than users in other regions but otherwise track similarly in terms of seasonal usage.

Average apps per user Europe vs Other Regions - Last 12 Months 2024

Users in Europe download data from cloud apps at a similar rate as other regions, with 93% of users downloading data from cloud apps in Europe versus 95% in other regions. When it comes to uploading data, 60% of users from Europe upload data to cloud apps versus 70% from other regions.

Percentage of users uploading data Europe vs Other Regions - Last 12 Months 2024

Most Popular Cloud Apps

The top 10 most popular cloud apps in Europe are all Microsoft apps, with the top three mirroring other regions and Microsoft OneDrive leading all other apps with almost the same percentage as other regions.

Overall App Popularity Europe vs Other Regions 2024

Top Apps Used for Uploads

As expected, Microsoft OneDrive is also the app most used for uploading data, with 21% of European users uploading data to OneDrive daily. In general, European users’ app preferences for uploads are in line with those of the rest of the world.

Apps Used for Uploads Europe vs Other Regions 2024

Top Apps Used for Downloads

Similarly, Microsoft OneDrive is also the most popular app for downloads in Europe, with 23% of users downloading from it. European users’ app preferences for uploads are mostly inline with the rest of the world. However, SharePoint is slightly more popular, with 19% of users downloading files compared to 15% in other regions.

Apps Used for Downloads Europe vs Other Regions 2024

Cloud App Abuse link link

Cloud Malware Delivery

Over the past year, the percentage of malware downloads from cloud apps has decreased gradually worldwide. In Europe, the percentage of malware downloads fell in line with the global trend, bottoming out in the second half of 2023 and beginning to increase again in early 2024. The abuse of cloud apps allows malware to fly under the radar and evade regular security controls relying on tools, such as domain block lists, or not inspecting cloud traffic.

Malware Delivery, Cloud vs. Web, Europe vs Other Regions - Last 12 Months 2024

Although all the regions exhibit a very similar percentage rate of malware sourced from the cloud, Europe leads the pack by a narrow margin.

Malware Sourced from the Cloud Last 12 Months Average - Europe 2024

Cloud Apps Abused for Malware Delivery

Microsoft OneDrive takes the top spot for the most malware downloads. In general, 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 Netskope detects and blocks from Microsoft OneDrive reflects adversary tactics (abusing OneDrive to distribute malware) and victim behavior (their likelihood to click on the links and download the malware).

In second place, SharePoint is more popular for malware downloads in Europe than in the rest of the world, despite having similar overall popularity. One way SharePoint is used to deliver malware is through Microsoft Teams, which uses SharePoint for file sharing. In third place, GitHub is slightly more popular for malware downloads in Europe than the rest of the world.

Top Cloud Apps Abused for Malware Download Last 12 Months Europe vs Other Regions 2024

Top Malware & Ransomware Families link link

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

Botnet.Mirai is one of the most famous botnets, targeting exposed Linux networking devices. Discovered in 2016, this malware has been targeting a wide range of devices, such as routers, cameras, and other IoT devices. Since its source code leak, the number of variants of this malware has increased considerably.

Downloader.Guloader is a small downloader known for delivering RAT and infostealers, such as AgentTesla, Formbook, and Remcos.

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

Infostealer.Azorult (a.k.a. PuffStealer) is a malware that aims to steal sensitive information such as account passwords. In March 2024, Netskope Threat Labs tracked a campaign that delivered Azorult via Google Slides and HTML smuggling.

Infostealer.QakBot (a.k.a. Quakbot, QBot) is a modular malware, active since 2007, capable of stealing sensitive financial data from infected systems, often delivered via malicious documents.

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.

RAT.Remcos is a remote access Trojan popular among many attackers that provides an extensive list of features to control devices remotely.

Trojan.ModernLoader (a.k.a Avatar Bot) collects basic system information and delivers cryptominers, RATs, and other malware payloads.

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.

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 Europe 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 May 1, 2023 through April 30, 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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