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

5/17/2017
12:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Inside the Motivations Behind Modern Cyberattackers

Attackers seeking money, dominance, and data are banding together and sharing infrastructure to target businesses.

Today's organizations have a few key disadvantages in the fight against modern cybercrime. For one, each needs to build an indestructible defense -- but attackers only need to find one crack to break in.

On top of that, each business is up against several attackers who share strategies and skills. Cybercriminals are collaborating better than white-hat hackers are, explained Paul Kurtz, co-founder and CEO at TruSTAR, during his Dark Reading Crash Course presentation at this year's Interop ITX.

Kurtz focused his talk on the motives and methods of today's adversaries: who are they, what do they want, and how are they targeting their victims?

Motivations for cybercrime extend beyond the obvious draw of financial gain. Attackers are also driven by espionage, dominance, and creating uncertainty, as demonstrated by the proliferation of false information during last year's presidential elections.

"We have an evolution going on" with respect to the types of threats businesses face, he continued. Ransomware "continues to explode," with attacks increasing by 50% in one year. Social engineering is a growing problem; social actions like phishing were present in 21% of incidents over the last year, said Kurtz.

Nation-state threats have recently become a top concern, given the current geopolitical landscape and aftermath of the WannaCry ransomware attacks. Kurtz warned against focusing too much on attribution when it comes to cybercrime.

Many victims want to know who is behind these attacks, he said, but it doesn't matter whether it's a nation-state, criminal, terrorist, hacktivist, or insider -- they're all working together on exploits and sharing information with one another. If the latest cyberattack didn't affect your organization, there's a hacker who can use its source code to launch a similar one.

"In the end, with this particular attack, we have to remember adversaries are looking at what other adversaries are doing," Kurtz said of WannaCry. "They'll think they can improve on what's been done."

Knowing who is behind cyberattacks, in a way, "doesn't really help you much," he noted. Instead of trying to classify individual threat actors, he urged his audience to try and better understand how these adversaries work together and use this information to inform their security strategies.

"Today, the most important information about cyberattacks is locked inside your company, which has been attacked," he noted. However, businesses aren't using this information to its full advantage and sharing it to protect against threats.

In his session, "Collecting and Using Threat Intelligence Data", Polarity CEO Paul Battista emphasized the importance of leveraging intelligence for threat warnings, prevention, and informed decision-making.

"It's important for managers, businesses, engineers, and machines to understand what they're up against," he explained. Security practitioners should be asking their business leaders: what keeps you up at night? What do you think are the biggest threats to our organization? What decisions do you make, and how can intelligence improve them?

Manual threat intelligence research can be time consuming, especially as the number of threat intelligence indicators grows into the billions. This data should be collected into a single repository so organizations can identify malicious activity and have a holistic understanding of the threats they face.

"We need to be able to take indicators and bring them into an environment that's relevant to us," said Teddy Powers, security engineer at Anomali. "We're faced with too many fires on a daily basis not to take advantage of threat intelligence platforms."

If threat actors are collecting and sharing information, he continued, then why aren't businesses?

Related Content

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
JulietteRizkallah
50%
50%
JulietteRizkallah,
User Rank: Ninja
5/18/2017 | 2:49:34 PM
Cybersecurity industry too competitive to collaborate?
The article's author is right: cyber criminals band together and share info and knowledge way faster and better than their targets.  So they stay ahead of the game and move evolve their attacks extremely fast. When we look at the cyber security vendors, they are all competing to be the first to have a way to prevent or mitigate attacks, they do not share any information with each other due to the extreme competitive environement. 

We may need federal involvment of regulations to get to a true collaboration, or something really bad to happen...
Commentary
Ransomware Is Not the Problem
Adam Shostack, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Technologist, Game Designer,  6/9/2021
Edge-DRsplash-11-edge-ask-the-experts
How Can I Test the Security of My Home-Office Employees' Routers?
John Bock, Senior Research Scientist,  6/7/2021
News
New Ransomware Group Claiming Connection to REvil Gang Surfaces
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  6/10/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Google's new See No Evil policy......
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-31664
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 44741ff99f7a71df45420635b238b9c22093647a contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33185
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS contains a buffer overflow in the set_range test in TestBitmap which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-33186
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS in test-crypto.cpp contains a stack buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.
CVE-2021-31272
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
SerenityOS before commit 3844e8569689dd476064a0759d704bc64fb3ca2c contains a directory traversal vulnerability in tar/unzip that may lead to command execution or privilege escalation.
CVE-2021-31660
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-18
RIOT-OS 2021.01 before commit 85da504d2dc30188b89f44c3276fc5a25b31251f contains a buffer overflow which could allow attackers to obtain sensitive information.