The botnet has displaced credential stealers, stand-alone downloaders, and RATs in the overall threat landscape.
Emotet, a form of malware previously classified as a banking Trojan but now considered a botnet, made up 61% of all payloads in the first quarter of 2019, Proofpoint researchers report.
The data comes from Proofpoint's "Q1 2019 Threat Report." Researchers who have been tracking Emotet's evolution say its popularity is reflected in the growth of attacks using malicious URLs. In the first quarter of 2019, emailed cyberattacks using bad links outnumbered those packing malicious attachments by five to one — up 180% from the first quarter of 2019, they report.
Emotet frequently downloads additional modules for sending spam and downloading additional malware. This caused a change in classification, as well as increases in the volume of messages trying to install Emotet. As a result, researchers saw a significant change in the volume of messages by malware family: 61% of payloads were botnets, and all of them were Emotet. The threat is responsible for the inclusion of the "botnet" category in 2019, during which Emotet has displaced credential stealers, stand-alone downloaders, and remote access Trojans (RATs) in the threat landscape.