Cyber Security News & Trends

This week, the release of the 2020 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report!


SonicWall Spotlight

2020 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report: Threat Actors Pivot Toward More Targeted Attacks, Evasive Exploits – SonicWall Press Release

  • This week saw the release of the always anticipated yearly SonicWall Cyber Threat Report! Key takeaways include a drop in malware and ransomware attack volumes but an increase in more targeted attacks, a continued rise in encrypted attacks, and a massive fall in cryptojacking.

Inside Cybercriminal Inc.: SonicWall Exposes New Cyberattack Data, Threat Actor Behaviors in Latest Report  – Geoff Blaine

  • SonicWall Vice President of Marketing Geoff Blaine digs into the 2020 Cyber Threat Report, laying out and analyzing the data SonicWall’s Cyber Threat Team have found over the past year.

The CyberWire Daily Briefing – Cyberwire

Vulnerability in Linear eMerge Access Controllers Exploited in the Wild – SecurityWeek

  • SecurityWeek picks up on SonicWall’s recent SonicAlert about a known vulnerability in Nortek Security & Control’s Linear Emerge E3 Access Controller actively being exploited. Despite this vulnerability being raised a year ago and considered critical, no fix has yet been implemented.

Cybersecurity News

Kobe Bryant Wallpaper Shows how Hackers Exploit Mourning Fans for Cryptocurrency Mining – The Independent (UK)

  • Cybercriminals have been detected attempting to profit from the death of Kobe Bryant by hiding malware within downloadable wallpapers of the basketball star.

Internet of Things: Smart Cities Pick Up the PaceFinancial Times

  • As 5G and the Internet of Things go from a future development to a reality, so do smart cities. The Financial Times investigates where smart cites are right now, how deep 5G and IoT penetration currently goes and what they are likely to look like in the future, including the prediction that up to 30% of smart city programs will be abandoned by 2023.

Magecart Group Jumps from Olympic Ticket Website to new Wave of E-Commerce Shops – ZDNet

  • Despite recent arrests of a major magecart group, a new wave of the malware has been detected spreading across a Russian hosting provider using a Chinese domain registrar, who suspended the domain when the malware was reported.

Watch Out for Coronavirus Phishing Scams – Wired

  • A number of phishing scams have been detected where attackers disseminate malicious links and PDFs that claim to contain information on how to protect yourself from the spread of the Coronavirus. SonicWall’s Cyber Threat team have also detected malicious executables being spread using fears of the virus as bait.

Feds are Lining up More Indictments Related to Chinese Cyber-Activity, Officials say – Cyberscoop

  • U.S. prosecutors are preparing to issue new charges against Chinese nationals related to alleged hacking and insider threats at U.S. organizations. U.S. officials have repeatedly accused China of breaking a 2015 agreement not to conduct “cyber-enabled” intellectual property theft and have ramped up pressure by announcing criminal charges against Chinese nationals. Strain over Huawei and the nascent 5G network may bring the whole thing to a head.

In Case You Missed It

Inside Cybercriminal Inc.: SonicWall Exposes New Cyberattack Data, Threat Actor Behaviors in Latest Report

For cybercriminals and threat actors, the digital frontier is a lawless panorama of targets and opportunity. Despite the best intentions of government agencies, law enforcement and oversight groups, the modern cyber threat landscape is more agile and evasive than ever before.

For this reason, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers work tirelessly to arm organizations, enterprises, governments and businesses with actionable threat intelligence to stay ahead in the global cyber arms race.

And part of that dedication starts with the 2020 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, which provides critical threat intelligence to help you better understand how cybercriminals think — and be fully prepared for what they’ll do next.

Global Malware Dips, But More Targeted

For the last five years, cybercriminals overwhelmed organizations with sheer volume. But as cyber defenses evolved, more volume was not resulting in higher paydays. A change was in order.

In 2018, cybercriminals began to leverage more evasive and pointed attacks against “softer” targets. In 2019, global malware volume dipped, but attacks were more targeted with higher degrees of success, particularly against the healthcare industry, and state, provincial and local governments.

All told, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers recorded 9.9 billion malware attacks* in 2019 — a slight 6% year-over-year decrease.

Ransomware targets state, provincial and local governments

‘Spray and pray’ is over. Cybercriminals are using ransomware to surgically target victims that are more likely to pay given the sensitive data they possess or funds at their disposal (or both). Now it’s all about ‘big-game hunting.’

The report outlines the most egregious ransomware attacks of 2019, while also painting a picture of the evolution of ransomware families and signatures, including Cerber, GandCrab, HiddenTear and more.

Fileless malware spikes in Q3

Fileless malware is a type of malicious software that exists exclusively as a memory-based artifact (i.e., RAM). It does not write any part of its activity to the computer’s hard drive, making it very resistant to existing computer forensic strategies.

The use of fileless malware ebbed and flowed in 2019. But exclusive SonicWall data shows a massive mid-year spike for this savvy technique.

Encrypted threats growing consistently

Another year, another jump in the use of encrypted threats. Until more organizations proactively and responsibly inspect TLS/SSL traffic, this attack vector will only expand.

IoT malware volume rising

From hacked doorbell cameras to rogue nanny cams, 2019 was an alarming year for the security and privacy of IoT devices. Trending data suggests more IoT-based attacks are on the horizon.

Cryptojacking crumbles

In early 2019, the price of bitcoin and complementary cryptocurrencies created an untenable situation between Coinhive-based cryptojacking malware and the legitimate Coinhive mining service. The shuttering of the latter led to the virtual disappearance of one the year’s hottest malware.

Coronavirus Affecting Business as Remote Workforces Expand Beyond Expected Capacity

The novel coronavirus epidemic is a major global health concern. To help prevent the spread of the new virus, organizations, businesses and enterprises are protecting their workforce and allowing employees to work remotely. This practice helps limit individual contact with large groups or crowds (e.g., restaurants, offices, transit) where viruses can easily spread.

As such, ‘stay at home’ is a common phrase in many health-conscious regions this week. According to the BBC, the city of Suzhou said businesses would remain closed until Feb 8, if not longer. As of 2018, Suzhou had a population of more than 10.7 million people.

On Jan. 30, the World Health Organization labeled the outbreak as a global health emergency. In response, the U.S. Department of issued a Level 4 travel advisory to China (do not travel).

Precautions like these are causing unexpected increases in mobile workers; many organizations don’t have enough virtual private network (VPN) licenses to accommodate the increase of users. This is a serious risk as employees will either not have access to business resources or, worse, they will do so via non-secure connections.

Organizations and enterprises in affected areas should review their business continuity plans. The National Law Review published a useful primer for employers and organizations managing workforces susceptible to coronavirus outbreaks. In addition, leverage SonicWall’s ‘5 Core Practices to Ensure Business Continuity.”

What is the coronavirus?

Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a respiratory illness first identified in Wuhan, China, but cases have since been reported in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, and nine other countries. In an effort to contain the virus, the Chinese authorities have suspended air and rail travel in the area around Wuhan.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early patients in the outbreak in China “reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, a growing number of patients reportedly have not had exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread is occurring. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.”

The latest situation summary updates are available via the CDC: 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China.


Work-from-Home VPN Solutions for Remote Workforces

To help organizations cost-effectively implement VPN technology for their rapidly expanding work-from-home employees, SonicWall is making its remote access products and services available to both new and existing customers via deeply discounted rates. We’re also bundling critical security solutions for new enterprise and SMB customers.

This special offer provides free Secure Mobile Access (SMA) virtual appliances sized for enterprises and SMBs, and also includes aggressive discounts on Cloud App Security and Capture Client endpoint protection when paired with SMA.

These packages were bundled to include everything needed to protect employees outside the network:

  • Free Secure Mobile Access (SMA) virtual appliance
  • Aggressive discounts on Capture Client endpoint protection
  • Aggressive discounts on Cloud App Security
  • Aggressive discounts on support contracts and Remote Implementation Services when you bundle a virtual appliance
  • New 30- and 60-day VPN spike licenses for existing SMA 100 and 1000 series customers