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
Google+
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

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...
Florida Town Pays $600K to Ransomware Operators
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/20/2019
Pledges to Not Pay Ransomware Hit Reality
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  6/21/2019
AWS CISO Talks Risk Reduction, Development, Recruitment
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/25/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-1619
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-27
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to bypass authentication and execute arbitrary actions with administrative privileges on an affected device. The vulnerability is due to improper session ...
CVE-2019-1620
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-27
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to upload arbitrary files on an affected device. The vulnerability is due to incorrect permission settings in affected DCNM software. An attacker could ex...
CVE-2019-1621
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-27
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to gain access to sensitive files on an affected device. The vulnerability is due to incorrect permissions settings on affected DCNM software. An attacker...
CVE-2019-1622
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-27
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to retrieve sensitive information from an affected device. The vulnerability is due to improper access controls for certain URLs on affected DCNM software...
CVE-2019-10133
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-26
A flaw was found in Moodle before 3.7, 3.6.4, 3.5.6, 3.4.9 and 3.1.18. The form to upload cohorts contained a redirect field, which was not restricted to internal URLs.