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.

Threat Intelligence

67% of Malware Attacks Came via Phishing in Second Quarter

During the second quarter, cyberattacks soared 24% worldwide with phishing attacks playing a large role and Adobe Flash one of the favorite attack targets.

Organizations hit with malware during the second quarter had it delivered via phishing attacks in 67% of the cases, according to a Global Threat Intelligence Center (GTIC) report released today by NTT Security.

GTIC's 2017 Q2 Threat Intelligence Report, which gleans data from both successful and unsuccessful attempts on its customers, found phishing emails were by far the most heavy used delivery method for malware.

Yet, CISOs and other IT security executives may not be giving phishing and its mitigation as much focus as other attacks.

"I have not seen any studies where CISOs are saying their No. 1 concern is phishing attacks. If you went around a room, it would likely be ransomware and DDoS as the No. 1 and No. 2 things on their mind, in my view," says Jon Heimerl, manager of the Threat Intelligence communications team. "I would be amazed if phishing was on their top 5 or even top 10 list."

He added it usually takes a CISO getting hit with a malware attack that was delivered via a phishing email for a focus to be placed on developing ways to mitigate phishing attacks. And ways to address this form of attack typically comes by way of using technology to filter out nefarious emails, as well as putting together policies and employee education to tackle this increasing form of attacks, he noted.

"Over the last few years, there has been an explosion in attacks aimed at the end user, including phishing attacks," Heimerl says.

He attributes that to cybercriminals going for the low-hanging fruit where it takes as little as 10 minutes to craft an effective email to entice a user to click on a link or download an attachment that will ultimately provide access to the core of the network, rather than spending days creating exploits.

NTT Security found malicious attachments accompanying phishing emails often come with embedded VBA macros that frequently hold obscure PowerShell commands that download the malware. NTT Security expects cyberattackers continue to use embedded VBA macros that rely on a various Windows tools that range from PowerShell to Windows Management Instrumentation Command-Line to PsExec for malware payload downloads.

Industries Capturing the Eyes of Cybercriminals

Manufacturing captured the top ranking of targeted industries in the second quarter, accounting for 34% of all malicious attacks in the three-month period. That was followed by finance at 25% and healthcare at 13%, the report found.

The type of attacks the manufacturing industry endured during the quarter was predominately reconnaissance attacks, which accounted for 33% of the activity against the sector that involved scanning for vulnerabilities in applications and systems, according to the report. Brute-force attacks, meanwhile, accounted for 22% of attacks on the manufacturing industry and malware 9%, the report noted. Some of the scanning tools used by cybercriminals against the manufacturing industry included ZmEu, Muieblackcat and Metasploit to peer into public-facing systems, according to the report.

Top Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures

An Adobe Flash remote code execution bug (CVE-2016-4116) patched last spring took the title of most-targeted vulnerability in the second quarter, accounting for 57% of targeted campaigns, the report stated. Flash, overall, accounted for a whopping 98% of all Adobe flaws, the report found.

Last month, Adobe announced it will end support for Flash in 2020.

"If you're a CISO and you don't need to run Flash, then you should uninstall it," advised Heimerl, adding that CISOs will have to ask themselves what their risk tolerance level is like.

The other top common vulnerabilities and exposures in the second quarter included the Apache Struts remote code execution vuln discovered in March (CVE-2017-5638), which accounted for 24% of attack target campaigns, and ShellShock (CVE-2014-6271), which continues to represent 10%, the report stated.

Related Content:

 

 

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Paul__Walsh
0%
100%
Paul__Walsh,
User Rank: Guru
8/9/2017 | 3:29:59 PM
Re: Understandable
NTT Security is a customer of my company MetaCert - they use our Slack security app to protect them from phishing links while they use Slack. Feel free to reach out to me to learn more at any time, about the security implications of using Team Collaboration platforms. paul at metacert dot .com
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
8/9/2017 | 7:46:30 AM
Understandable
This statistic makes sense. If you think of the employee being one of the greater level of security risks to an organization. Then couple that with their ability to subvert in-place security mechanisms be clicking a downloadable disguised by a link in an open communication medium. I'm surprised its not even higher.
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/14/2020
Omdia Research Launches Page on Dark Reading
Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading 7/9/2020
Why Cybersecurity's Silence Matters to Black Lives
Tiffany Ricks, CEO, HacWare,  7/8/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
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 Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-14499
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper access control vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to obtain all user accounts credentials.
CVE-2020-14501
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper authentication for critical function (CWE-306) issue. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to obtain the information of the user table, including the administrator credentials in plain text. An attacker may also ...
CVE-2020-14503
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper input validation vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an attacker to remotely execute arbitrary code.
CVE-2020-14497
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, contains multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities that are vulnerable to the use of an attacker-controlled string in the construction of SQL queries. An attacker could extract user credentials, read or modify information, and remotely execute code.
CVE-2020-14505
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-15
Advantech iView, versions 5.6 and prior, has an improper neutralization of special elements used in a command (“command injection�) vulnerability. Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to send a HTTP GET or POST request that create...