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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

11/16/2015
05:30 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

IBM Report: Ransomware, Malicious Insiders On The Rise

X-Force's top four cyber threat trends also names upper management's increasing interest in infosec.

Ransomware and malicious insiders are on the rise, upper management is showing greater interest in infosec, and organizations actually have a reason to be grateful to script kiddies, according to a new threat intelligence report from IBM X-Force.

Ransomware rising

Ransomware like CryptoWall has become one of the top mobile threats, in addition to desktop threats. It's been found wrapped into a variety of exploit kits -- the Angler EK alone generated $60 million from ransomware -- and has been seen spreading through malvertising campaigns.

IBM X-Force, however, states the top infection vector was simply unpatched vulnerabilities. "A well-known infection vector of ransomware can exploit unpatched operating system vulnerabilities to give attackers access to the system resources they want to lock or the data they want to encrypt," according to the report. After unpatched vulnerabilities, drive-by downloads and spearphishing, respectively, were the leading attack vectors. 

To defend against, recover from, and mitigate the effects of ransomware, X-Force recommends creating and testing back-ups thoroughly; conducting better user training; using "software designed to catch anomalies related to binaries, processes and connections" which "can also help identify many kinds of malware, ransomware included;" and using file recovery software, professional services, or Microsoft Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service to try to recover files that the ransomware has copied/deleted or encrypted.

'Onion-layered' incidents

By "onion-layered incidents" IBM X-Force is not referring at all to onion routing. It is referring to detected security incidents that lead forensic investigators to discover evidence of hitherto undetected attacks.

X-Force witnessed a new trend in which stealthy, sophisticated attacks were discovered during forensic investigations into simple, unsophisticated attacks. Attackers who'd been lurking within a network for months were not detected until investigators stumbled across them while investigating an attack by a script kiddie.

"Were it not for the disruptive event caused by the script kiddies, the client might never have noticed anything wrong," the report said.

The common trait in scenarios like this, said researchers, is that the compromised organizations were running old operating system versions that hadn't been patched in a long time.

Malicious insiders

Malicious insiders are abusing remote administration tools and organizations are making those attackers' work easier by following bad password policies, conducting insufficient logging, and failing to revoke employees' credentials immediately after they leave the company.

"The common thread is that accountability was not enforced. ... Knowledge can’t be stripped from an employee leaving an organization, but there are ways to minimize the risk of that knowledge being used for malicious purposes," the report said.

X-Force found that in the organizations most prone to insider attacks, passwords were "routinely" set to never expire, password sharing between team members was not discouraged, admin accounts were shared, and user credentials were not immediately revoked when an employee was terminated or left the company.

"As a result, ex-employees with ill will toward former employers held powerful weapons they could use to express their resentment. They simply needed a way to get back into the network."

The most common method, according to IBM: "In most malicious insider attacks we’ve seen, the disgruntled employee typically 'prepared for departure' by installing remote administration tools  such as LogMeIn or TeamViewer for access to the employer’s network."

X-Force recommends that security teams that suspect or detect the unauthorized use of remote administration tools block access for the master servers of these tools.

Upper management interest

The average cost of a data breach in the United States was $6.53 million, according to a study by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM. Numbers like this have gotten the attention of upper management, say researchers. 

What is management asking their security teams for more? Enterprise risk assessment, incident response, and tabletop exercises like stress tests and cross-functional reviews are top of the list.

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Ashu001
50%
50%
Ashu001,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/17/2015 | 12:28:08 AM
Why do I get the feeling that the Policestate is now after TOR?
Sara,

This is the 3rd Report from a Security/IT Vendor I have seen in the last month or so which tries to blame TOR for Cyber-crime /Terrorism.

I remember there was one from Akamai also on similar lines.

But the most important thing folks need to be wary of All-pervasive Privacy Invasions conducted by the Government online in the name of ""Keeping us safe" suppposedly.

I was recently sent this very interesting chart from the Independent Newspaper which showed where the Top 10 Supporters for ISIS/ISIL come from(in terms of Tweets).

Guess whos at No.1?

Our Supposed Ally-Saudi Arabia.

Guess who else is in the Top 10?

America , the UK and our closest allies(On whom we spend Billions in Militiary Aid every year)-Egypt and Turkey!!

What's stopping the Police-state from taking action against these people?Nothing.

But still they don't.

Sad But true reality.

This is why TOR will continue to be immensely popular going ahead.

 
Data Leak Week: Billions of Sensitive Files Exposed Online
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/10/2019
Intel Issues Fix for 'Plundervolt' SGX Flaw
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  12/11/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-5252
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
There is an improper authentication vulnerability in Huawei smartphones (Y9, Honor 8X, Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, Y6 Pro). The applock does not perform a sufficient authentication in a rare condition. Successful exploit could allow the attacker to use the application locked by applock in an instant.
CVE-2019-5235
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-14
Some Huawei smart phones have a null pointer dereference vulnerability. An attacker crafts specific packets and sends to the affected product to exploit this vulnerability. Successful exploitation may cause the affected phone to be abnormal.
CVE-2019-5264
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
There is an information disclosure vulnerability in certain Huawei smartphones (Mate 10;Mate 10 Pro;Honor V10;Changxiang 7S;P-smart;Changxiang 8 Plus;Y9 2018;Honor 9 Lite;Honor 9i;Mate 9). The software does not properly handle certain information of applications locked by applock in a rare condition...
CVE-2019-5277
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Huawei CloudUSM-EUA V600R006C10;V600R019C00 have an information leak vulnerability. Due to improper configuration, the attacker may cause information leak by successful exploitation.
CVE-2019-5254
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-13
Certain Huawei products (AP2000;IPS Module;NGFW Module;NIP6300;NIP6600;NIP6800;S5700;SVN5600;SVN5800;SVN5800-C;SeMG9811;Secospace AntiDDoS8000;Secospace USG6300;Secospace USG6500;Secospace USG6600;USG6000V;eSpace U1981) have an out-of-bounds read vulnerability. An attacker who logs in to the board m...