Attackers Succeed With Speed and PrecisionIn a record-setting year for zero-day vulnerabilities, Symantec research reveals that it took software companies an average of 59 days to create and roll out patches—up from only four days in 2013. Attackers took advantage of the delay and, in the case of Heartbleed, leapt to exploit the vulnerability within four hours. There were 24 total zero-day vulnerabilities discovered in 2014, leaving an open playing field for attackers to exploit known security gaps before they were patched.
- Using stolen email accounts from one corporate victim to spear-phish other victims higher up the food chain;
- Taking advantage of companies’ management tools and procedures to move stolen IP around the corporate network before exfiltration;
- Building custom attack software inside the network of their victims to further disguise their activities.
Digital Extortion on the RiseEmail remains a significant attack vector for cybercriminals, but they continue to experiment with new attack methods across mobile devices and social networks to reach more people, with less effort.
Secure It, Don’t Lose It!As attackers persist and evolve, there are many steps businesses and consumers can take to protect themselves. As a starting point, Symantec recommends the following best practices:
- Don’t get caught flat-footed: Use advanced threat intelligence solutions to help you find indicators of compromise and respond faster to incidents.
- Employ a strong security posture: Implement multi-layered endpoint security, network security, encryption, strong authentication and reputation-based technologies. Partner with a managed security service provider to extend your IT team.
- Prepare for the worst: Incident management ensures your security framework is optimized, measureable and repeatable, and that lessons learned improve your security posture. Consider adding a retainer with a third-party expert to help manage crises.
- Provide ongoing education and training: Establish guidelines and company policies and procedures for protecting sensitive data on personal and corporate devices. Regularly assess internal investigation teams—and run practice drills—to ensure you have the skills necessary to effectively combat cyber threats.
- Use strong passwords: This cannot be emphasized enough. Use strong and unique passwords for your accounts and devices, and update them on a regular basis—ideally every three months. Never use the same password for multiple accounts.
- Be cautious on social media: Don’t click links in unsolicited email or social media messages, particularly from unknown sources. Scammers know people are more likely to click on links from their friends, so they compromise accounts to send malicious links to the account owner’s contacts.
- Know what you’re sharing: When installing a network-connected device, such as a home router or thermostat, or downloading a new app, review the permissions to see what data you’re giving up. Disable remote access when not needed.
About the Internet Security Threat ReportThe Internet Security Threat Report provides an overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity. The report is based on data from Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network, which Symantec analysts use to identify, analyze and provide commentary on emerging trends in attacks, malicious code activity, phishing, and spam.
About SymantecSymantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC) is an information protection expert that helps people, businesses and governments seeking the freedom to unlock the opportunities technology brings -- anytime, anywhere. Founded in April 1982, Symantec, a Fortune 500 company, operating one of the largest global data-intelligence networks, has provided leading security, backup and availability solutions for where vital information is stored, accessed and shared. The company's more than 20,000 employees reside in more than 50 countries. Ninety-nine percent of Fortune 500 companies are Symantec customers. In fiscal 2014, it recorded revenues of $6.7 billion. To learn more go to www.symantec.com or connect with Symantec at: http://www.symantec.com/social/.
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