On Nov. 18 the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC) warned law enforcement and public officials of increased cyber attack threats. The center is a collaborative effort between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). The notice suggested that people need to be highly aware of email account security and keeping social media footprints to a minimum.
It is an action that the general public and businesses should also heed as Q3 reports from cyber security companies indicate increased activity by hacktivists and nation states in compromising businesses and governmental agencies. PandaLabs, the malware research arm of Panda Security, tells of a growing interest between countries in compromising the security and information of different countries. Even security companies are under attack as witnessed by the assault on the Hacking Team. PandaLabs also noted that an arsenal of cyber attack weapons is being used against businesses and governments around the world.
In reference to the Hacking Team, Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs, added, “This case is particularly worrying, as they have managed to decrypt the passwords of the most protected of systems. The criminals not only wanted to know which clients used the cyber espionage services, which includes intelligence agencies and governments, but also which products they were using.”
As of the third quarter of 2015 PandaLabs has counted 21 million new threats, which is an average of 230,000 per day. Malware is continuing to evolve with Trojans the most common form of malware – accounting for 69.15 percent, and cause the most infections (77.64 percent). They are trailed by traditional viruses on 11.34 percent, and Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs), at 7.96 percent.
“Infecting a device that is connected to the internet with a Trojan is as easy as hiding it in a file that the victim downloads,” warned Corrons. “From then on, all of the information on the device, the organizations information, or user passwords is at risk”.
Trustwave focused on the 71 percent of cyber attacks against small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) with a new security toolkit that contains 13 integrated tools ranging from anti-virus to advanced malware detection and monitoring. It also addresses point-of-sale malware, mobile security and web malware monitoring.
The security company believes that attackers seek out small- and medium-sized businesses because they know they are often the softest targets. “And targeting these businesses is easier and cheaper than ever before with the rising use of attack automation techniques. In this hostile cyber environment, it’s never been more important to shore up defenses.”
Anti-malware company, Trend Micro, announced that it blocked 12.6 billion threats in Q3, a 20% decrease from 2012, but warned that seismic security incidents during the period could be an indication of the kind of threats facing individuals and businesses going forward. The third quarter saw some of the “worst-case security scenarios ever imagined,” according to the vendor’s security report for the period.
Trend Micro chief cybersecurity officer, Tom Kellermann, warned that incident response plans must be tweaked to manage the secondary stages of attacks. “It is imperative that the dwell time of an adversary be limited. We must disrupt the capacity of an adversary to maintain a footprint on hosts, and thus inhibit their ability to conduct secondary infections,” he added.
“The evolution of breaches is beginning to take a turn toward real-world effects on enterprises’ bottom lines and people’s lives,” added Raimund Genes, CTO at Trend Micro. “The emergence of numerous vulnerabilities and other data breaches that occurred in this quarter are bound to release more confidential and potentially destructive information to the public, which could then be sold to the highest bidder on the dark web.”
The Trend Micro Q3 Security Roundup has been delving into the international web threat network. They have seen how both users and devices are becoming more susceptible to attack. The company blames this on data breaches and software vulnerabilities, neither of which is in decline. The report also discusses the aftermath of security breaches, loopholes found in mobile platforms, and exploits posing risks not only to user privacy, but to physical safety.
The report paints a grim picture of 2016 based on the spike in attacks seen during the 2015 summer and the amount of personal data and sensitive business information for sale in the Dark Web. “As Trend analysts have observed, cyber space has become more punitive and attacks are no longer isolated,” said Tom Kellermann, chief cyber security officer at Trend Micro. Just this week massive DDoS attacks brought thousands of companies and government agencies to their knees in Britain.
“To mitigate future breaches and reduce risk, enterprises must focus on intrusion suppression and address the advent of secondary infections. Integration of breach detection systems with intrusion prevention systems is fundamental to decreasing the time hackers dwell on their networks. ‘Expect to be hit, prepare to survive’ will become the mantra of the winter of 2016.”