This will mean more opportunity for threat actors to mask their attacks. But by a factor of how much? Governments and cyber police are cracking down. Review the key arrests made by global law enforcement and the affect they could have on future cyber attacks. The standard network entry points are known. But new vectors — like memory-based attacks e. A strong security posture is constantly reinforced. Gain proven tips and policies to help bolster your cyber security strategy.
We are engaged in a cyber arms race, pitting the cyber security industry against those who seek to profit from cybercrime. And this is the core reason SonicWall is committed to passing its findings, intelligence, analysis and research to the global public via the SonicWall Cyber Threat Report. The modern cyberwar — against governments, businesses and individuals alike — is comprised of a series of attacks, counterattacks and respective defensive countermeasures. Many are simple and effective.
Others are targeted and complex. Yet they are all highly dynamic and require persistence, commitment and resources to mitigate. And they will not go away. Unfortunately, organizations large and small are caught in the middle of a global cyber arms race with vastly different resources at their disposal.
All told, there were more than 12, new Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures CVE reported in — 78 percent of which were related to network attacks. Even with WannaCry, Petya, NotPetya and Bad Rabbit stealing the headlines, the expectations of more ransomware attacks in simply did not materialize as anticipated.
This marked a Regionally, the Americas were victimized the most, receiving 46 percent of all ransomware attack attempts in Europe saw 38 percent of ransomware attacks during that same time. Even with a decline in volume, the multi-engine SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection ATP sandbox was responsible for identifying one new malware variant for every unknown hits.
Capture ATP is currently deployed at more than 30, organizations around the world and identifies almost new malicious files each day. By analyzing bitcoin data — the preferred currency of threat actors and cybercriminals — SonicWall researchers found that transactions via ransomware-related wallet addresses dropped in Many organizations are also better informed and more prepared for ransomware attacks.
The use of secure sockets layer SSL and transport layer security TLS protocols to encrypt and protect data in transit across the internet is nothing new. Until recently, encryption was typically reserved for the most sensitive web traffic e.
Each year, however, more and more everyday web traffic is encrypted. The graphs to the right contrast the use of each across a three-year span. The split was nearly the same at the beginning of In , the use of encrypted sessions grew 24 percent over and accounted for 68 percent of overall sessions. The acceptance of hybrid cloud environments, coupled with an explosive application-dependent society, will only accelerate the use of HTTPS in the coming years.
This shift has already given more opportunity for cybercriminals and threat actors to hide malicious payloads in encrypted traffic. Encrypted traffic is a growing attack vector for cybercriminals. Unfortunately, there is a fear of complexity and a general lack of awareness around the need to responsibly inspect SSL and TLS traffic — particularly using deep packet inspection DPI — for malicious cyberattacks.
Contact your security or firewall provider to ensure you have this capability and that it is properly activated. In , we saw three major zero-day vulnerabilities hit Adobe Flash, which were used in multiple attacks.
For example, between and , SonicWall found that attacks on Microsoft Edge grew 13 percent. This signifies that attacks on the vulnerable Microsoft Internet Explorer browser are in rapid decline and cybercriminals are looking for all avenues to deploy traditional exploits. Attacks against Microsoft Office and related applications e. With new applications cracking the top 10 in e. In analyzing application volume, machinelearning technology helps protect against newer attack vectors like Microsoft Office files, PDFs and other email-based threats.
Arrests of key malware and exploit kit authors in are now making a significant dent in the scale, volume and success of cyberattacks. These efforts are helping disrupt malware supply chains and are impacting the rise of new would-be hackers and authors. If convicted, Hutchins faces six counts of hacking charges that date back to and could hold a maximum year prison term. Are arrests like these truly making an impact in the cyber arms race? Reactive threat actor behavior in suggests law enforcement is closing in.
Because of the inroads law enforcement agencies are making into arresting and convicting malware authors and disruptors, cybercriminals are being more careful with how they conduct business. This change is most clear in their processes for collecting data ransom payouts.
Unlike NotPetya or WannaCry ransomware, which were linked to only a handful of bitcoin wallets, most ransomware attacks in generated a unique bitcoin wallet per infection. Although still anonymous, this simple change made it more difficult to track payments received that might correlate how widespread an infection may have been. While bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are largely anonymous, law enforcement agencies are also cracking down on the proprietors and operators of different exchanges.
In , for example, law enforcement arrested Russian Alexander Vinnik, operator of bitcoin exchange BTC-e, on more than 21 charges of money laundering, fraud and other financial crimes. Because of this change in behavior — whether caused by law enforcement or not — it is harder to track the bitcoin earnings of specific ransomware. The majority of SonicWall ransomware analysis completed in found wallet addresses with few or no transactions at all. This may mark a pivot point for threat actors.
As noted earlier in the report, the total volume of ransomware was down significantly year over year. However, the number of unique ransomware variants in play increased SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers created 2, new unique ransomware signatures in , which was up from the 1, published a year before. Ransomware draws the media lens because of its ability to successfully and simultaneously target large organizations, small businesses and even individuals.
But this high profile comes with a price: awareness and understanding. While it is just a category of malware, ransomware is about as close as it comes to a household name. So much so, organizations and individuals are educated on the matter. While apathy does still exist, some organizations are more proactive and more prepared. Victims are less inclined to pay ransoms once infected due to the uncertainty of retrieving their files.
The most malicious cybercriminals will even use ransomware like GlobeImposter, which can render a system unbootable without even requesting payment. The supposed decline in revenue is not discouraging malware authors from creating new ransomware variants, which is proven by the increasing number of ransomware signatures SonicWall created and deployed in In addition to the new jump in variants, cybercriminals are also relying on new propagation methods e.
The increased popularity of ransomware as a service RaaS also affected the increase in variants recorded. Thankfully, the security industry has had several years to implement countermeasures to mitigate ransomware attacks. The period between was lucrative for cybercriminals. Their sophistication and innovation paid off. While many smart devices do not hold any valuable data, there is still a potential for holding an owner, business or organization ransom.
This type of attack largely depends on timing. For example, if an attacker can gain control of a business HVAC during work hours, there is a higher likelihood that they will pay the ransom. Unfortunately, there will be more insidious cases e. DDoS attacks still remain the major threat to IoT devices and networks. Each compromised device could send up to 30 million packets per second to the target, creating an IoT-powered botnet that could easily launch a terabit-level DDoS attack in the future.
The security of IoT devices will remain a critical topic in The mobile device is ubiquitous across all cultures, ages, regions and even incomes. The mechanisms used by ransomware to render victim devices useless has also shifted. Earlier attacks simply covered the entire screen with a custom message, but exploits in began to completely encrypt the device. One such attack encrypted the device and reset the lock screen security PIN.
While encrypting traffic is a necessary practice, it does leave opportunity for threat actors. The same great protections SSL and TLS encryption afford well-meaning organizations may be leveraged to cloak illegal or malicious traffic as well.
Over time, the malware industry has improved their skillsets and are applying new and sophisticated technologies into their campaigns, including the use of encryption to hide payloads transferred over the internet. Encryption was leveraged more than previous years, for both legitimate traffic and malicious payload delivery. However, for the first time ever, SonicWall has real-world data that unmasks the volume of malware and other exploits hidden in encrypted traffic.
SonicWall Capture Labs found, on average, 60 file-based malware propagation attempts per SonicWall firewall each day. As outlined, the use of encryption to protect web traffic was up 24 percent in With this growth, each year provides cybercriminals more and more avenues for obscuring their malicious actions. For example, the use of SSL to download Nemucod content increased in Leveraging intrusion prevention systems IPS , SonicWall recorded and analyzed similar trends for attempted network intrusions.
Encrypted traffic will continue to grow, but unencrypted traffic will remain for most public services. However, threat actors will continue to use encryption to hide attacks in and beyond. In response, more organizations and enterprises are implementing SSL decryption, inspection and mitigation capabilities into their security strategy.
The data presented to this point highlights changes in cybercriminal behavior. Cybercriminals are mainly relying on existing code — with a few minor changes — to build malware variants that can spread quickly and more dangerously. All with the purpose of avoiding detection. This is the malware cocktail. As an example, while the total volume of malware attacks was up, the number of unique malware signatures declined.
In , SonicWall collected 56 million unique malware samples in contrast to the 60 million samples discovered in Therefore, the decision to accept payments in bitcoin and other digital currencies carries an additional risk due to the volatility of the bitcoin value.
Interestingly, anyone can create their own crypto currency if that they can get others to use it, so the value of a currency can also fall should a competing currency become more popular or perceived as more secure. Attacks that steal bitcoins can range from indirect and invisible to blatant and direct break-ins that steal the equivalent of the bank vault. The most brazen attacks target online exchanges, or bank equivalents, with poorly implemented security.
Our recently published SonicWall Security Annual Threat Report outlines some attacks on online Bitcoin exchanges that put a few of those exchanges out of business or seriously dented their operations. As crypto currencies continue to become increasingly accepted by the general public, businesses and retailers will have to adapt and start accepting digital currencies alongside credit cards, PayPal and other online payment methods.
This will save some money for these businesses through not having to pay credit card processing fees. However digital currencies are no free ride. Such businesses must ensure that they carefully manage both the economic and technical risks of such currencies. The economic risks lie in managing the volatility of the value of the digital currencies, while the technical risks are all about security.
To read more about attacks on digital currencies and other security trends tracked by our threat research team, download the SonicWall Security Annual Threat Report. You must be logged in to post a comment. Download Report. SonicWall Staff.
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Stop cryptojackers attacks before they spread to other endpoints on the same network; Continuously monitor system behavior for cryptocurrency mining. Cryptomining is a process that validates cryptocurrency Capture Client would detect that the system wants to mine coins and shut down. The mining stops once you leave, but there is a popular new form of malware that attempts to turn your device into a full-time cryptocurrency.