Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

ABTV //

Malware

3/19/2019
10:50 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

Cyber Attacks Grow by 55% in 2018 & Data Theft Dominates – Report

The findings from Positive Technologies aren't that, erm, positive.

The nature of cyberspace attacks continually evolves. The enterprise, to keep itself secure, needs to update its assumptions on what attacks are most likely to occur as information becomes available. Positive Technologies (PT), based in Framingham, Ma., just issued a report named "Cybersecurity Threatscape 2018" to share what trends it has seen developing during 2018.

For example, PT found that the number of targeted attacks grew throughout the year, rising 62% in Q4 and 55% over the entire year. Attackers mostly used spyware and remote administration malware to collect sensitive information or gain a foothold on systems during these targeted attacks.

It should be noted PT considers that one attack can refer to an entire malicious campaign (not just an individual incident). For them, a campaign may include multiple similar incidents -- like multiple infections by a particular piece of ransomware -- and all of them will be counted by PT as one massive attack. This kind of approach lends itself to an easier comprehension of overall trends instead of getting bogged down in counting specific incidents with similar goals.

Indeed, in 2018, the number of unique incidents grew by 27% compared to the previous year. Attacks are growing at an alarming rate. In most cases, attackers hit corporate infrastructure (49%) and websites (26%).

PT also found that the number of attacks that were primarily aimed at data theft kept increasing. Attackers focused on personal data (30%), credentials (24%), and payment card information (14%).

The increased focus on data theft may help to explain why healthcare institutions in the US and Europe got such attention from attackers in 2018. They underwent more attacks than even banks and finance did. Hospitals were also more likely to pay hackers when hit with ransomware, since patient lives were at stake.

Cryptocurrency miners were seen to decrease from a rate of 23% in Q1 to 9% in Q4. The decline in the prices of the cryptocurrency may have played a role in this.

However, malware as an item was part of 56% of the attacks that were seen. The increase in the number and variants of these kinds of malicious programs that are available to cybercriminals may have encouraged their use.

Attacks grew more sophisticated, involving multistage techniques. The cybercriminals turned to what is described as "supply chain" attacks to fool enterprises into trusting them. Other kinds of methods were used, such as impersonating software developers, to gain enough credibility to carry out the criminal's goals.

It must be realized that the lines between cybercrime and other sorts of crime are blurring in practice. The fruits of cybercrime may be theft of data, but that data can then be used to gain funds. A cyber attack may be just the first step in a convoluted scheme where the stolen data is used to effect some sort of fraud. But this report shows how attacks remain fixated on enterprises and their data. That seems likely to continue in 2019.

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
A Patriotic Solution to the Cybersecurity Skills Shortage
Adam Benson, Senior VP, Vrge Strategies,  8/3/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-12777
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-10
A function in Combodo iTop contains a vulnerability of Broken Access Control, which allows unauthorized attacker to inject command and disclose system information.
CVE-2020-12778
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-10
Combodo iTop does not validate inputted parameters, attackers can inject malicious commands and launch XSS attack.
CVE-2020-12779
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-10
Combodo iTop contains a stored Cross-site Scripting vulnerability, which can be attacked by uploading file with malicious script.
CVE-2020-12780
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-10
A security misconfiguration exists in Combodo iTop, which can expose sensitive information.
CVE-2020-12781
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-10
Combodo iTop contains a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability, attackers can execute specific commands via malicious site request forgery.