A summary of curated cybersecurity news and trends from leading media and security bloggers in the IT industry.
The mid-year update to the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report was quoted in dozens of news publications, namely the Washington Post and the Financial Times, plus several other professional journals serving a wide range of industries. From Industry News, we focused on big stories from Washington Post on the drop in ransomware this year. But cybersecurity professionals are extremely cautious against calling this a victory. A story from Bleeping Computer reports a shocking discovery of Android malware apps with more than two million installs. Wall Street Journal and Radio Free Europe reported that a Russian accused of money laundering for the Ryuk ransomware gang was extradited to the US. And finally, this week’s Big Read: DDoS attacks are on the rise, with contributions from Al Jazeera, Cyberwire, Bleeping Computer and Hacker News.
Remember that cybersecurity is everyone’s business. Be safe out there!
The Washington Post, SonicWall Threat Report Mention: Also in July, SonicWall, NCC Group and GuidePoint Security pointed to decreases across the board, although the companies covered various time periods. See additional comments in “Industry News.”
InfoPointSecurity (Germany), SonicWall News: SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) has once again achieved 100% threat detection at ICSA Labs Advanced Threat Defense certification for the second quarter of 2022 – for the sixth time in a row.
SC Magazine, Threat Report: Ransomware attacks dropped 23% globally from January to June, according to U.S. cybersecurity firm SonicWall’s 2022 mid-year cyber threat report. Though this time period overlaps with crypto’s bear market, many experts emphasize that the political conflict between Russia and Ukraine is the biggest factor in ransomware’s decline.
The Financial Times, Bill Conner Quote: “If you look at this mixing capability . . . all [the government] is doing is inserting itself in the crypto supply chain to say, look, it can be used for good, for privacy, correct, but it can also be used for bad, which is what is alarming,” said Bill Conner, executive chair of SonicWall, a US cyber security group.
CIO & Leader (India), SonicWall Byline: Patient care is shifting from treating acute medical problems to a new model: fostering ongoing wellness and quality of life. This transition is significantly transforming healthcare operational norms: today, there are many digital health innovations helping make patient-provider engagements more interactive, personalized and flexible throughout the patient-care continuum.
Unleashed, Bill Conner Q&A: One of the report’s most shocking statistics was that there has been a 775% increase in global ransomware attacks in the health sector. Conner warns that this number of incidents is likely to go up again in the next 12 months before adding context into what is happening: ”COVID-19 challenged the resilience of the health care information systems – and bad actors were aware of this fact.”
ChannelProNetwork, Threat Report Feature: The midyear update to the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report charts the rise of global malware, including a 77% spike in IoT attacks, and a 132% rise in encrypted threats. The report found that cybercriminal activity increased at least partly in response to geopolitical strife. That meant a 63% increase in ransomware attacks in Europe with a focus on financial sector companies, despite a 23% reduction in attack volume worldwide.
Continuity Central, Threat Report: SonicWall has released a mid-year update to its 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report. This shows an 11 percent increase in global malware, a 77 percent spike in IoT malware, a 132 percent rise in encrypted threats and a geographically-driven shift in ransomware volume as geopolitical strife impacts cybercriminal activity.
HIPAA Journal, Threat Report: SonicWall has released a mid-year update to its 2022 Cyber Threat Report, which highlights the global cyberattack trends in H1 2022. The data for the report was collected from more than 1.1 million global sensors in 215 countries and shows a global fall in ransomware attacks, with notable increases in malware attacks for the first time in 3 years.
Payments, Threat Report Feature: Cybersecurity firm SonicWall has released new data that shows that hackers are increasingly targeting financial firms such as banks and trading houses with cryptojacking attacks designed to use their computer systems to mine cryptocurrencies.
Crypto News BTC, Threat Report Feature: In accordance with a current report issued by cybersecurity agency SonicWall, international incidents of cryptojacking hit document highs earlier this 12 months. Cryptojacking refers to a cyberattack during which hackers implant malware on a pc system after which surreptitiously commandeer that system to mine cryptocurrency for the good thing about the hackers.
VentureBeat, Threat Report Feature: According to SonicWall, there were 5.4 billion malware attacks in 2021. At the heart of the challenge is the fact that by the time a human analyst detects malicious activity in the environment, it’s already too late.
The Washington Post: Ransomware has been a major problem in cyberspace for years. Ripping off from victims billions of dollars is widely reported, but it can also cause panics about food, fuel, and possibly even the death of a child. However, ransomware has been showing signs of decline over the past few months. So, what’s behind these diminishing figures? As mentioned earlier, Washington Post notes SonicWall, among other companies, as sources for their story. While the story doesn’t quote the Mid-Year Update to the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, it echoes a few key points from the report.
First, the changing geopolitical landscape have undoubtedly complicated cybercriminal activity, along with volatile cryptocurrency prices, and increased pressure from international law enforcement. However, while a decrease in ransomware volume is unquestionably good news, keeping this drop in perspective is essential. The amount of ransomware we’ve seen in the first half of 2022 has already eclipsed the full-year totals for each of the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, meaning we’re still far above pre-pandemic levels. The bottom line: ransomware may be down, but it certainly isn’t out.
Bleeping Computer: A new batch of thirty-five malware Android apps that display unwanted advertisements was found on the Google Play Store, with the apps installed over 2 million times on victims’ mobile devices. The apps were found by security researchers at Bitdefender, who employed a real-time behavior-based analysis method to discover the potentially malicious applications. Following standard tactics, the apps lure users into installing them by pretending to offer some specialized functionality but change their name and icon immediately after installation, making them difficult to find and uninstall.
Wall Street Journal: A Russian national who was extradited from the Netherlands to Portland, Ore., this week pleaded not guilty to charges of allegedly laundering cryptocurrency proceeds from ransomware attacks in the U.S. and abroad, the Justice Department said. Denis Dubnikov, a 29-year-old Russian, was arraigned in federal court in Portland, Ore., where he was arraigned and pleaded not guilty. If he is convicted, Dubnikov faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison; three years supervised release and a fine of $500,000. He and his co-conspirators laundered the proceeds of ransomware attacks on individuals and organizations throughout the U.S. and abroad.
According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Dubnikov owns small crypto exchanges in Russia. In November, he was detained in the Netherlands after being denied entry to Mexico and put on a plane back to the EU country. The arrest has been one of U.S. law enforcement’s first potential blows to the Ryuk ransomware gang, which is suspected of being behind a rash of cyberattacks on U.S. healthcare organizations.
BIG READ: DDoS Are on the Rise
Various Sources: It’s not your imagination; distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are growing in frequency and in size.
Google Cloud just reported one attack that clocked 46 million requests per second (rps) which is the largest Layer 7 DDoS reported to date – more than 76% larger than the largest reported by Cloudflare earlier this year.
Not only do threat actors use infected routers, servers, and computers to launch a flood of requests to a website in denial-of-service attacks, they use the attacks to harass and divert the attention of IT security teams from cyber-attacks elsewhere on the network. For example, this attack on Google was carried out by a threat actor who assembled a botnet of more than 5,000 devices distributed across 132 countries.
Al Jazeera reported that Estonia repelled a wave of cyberattacks shortly after its government opted to remove Soviet monuments in a region with an ethnic Russian majority. According to government sources, the attack was the most extensive the country has faced in more than ten years and targeted both public and private organizations but was stopped, and hackers did not disrupt services.
Cyberwire reported a DDoS attack against Energoatom, the Ukrainian state operator of the country’s four nuclear power plants. Energoatom described the incident, which took place this week, as “powerful,” and that it was mounted from “the territory of the Russian Federation” and carried out by the Russian group Narodnaya Kiberarmya, the “popular cyber army,” a hacktivist front organization. Energoatom said the attack used 7.25 million bots and lasted about three hours.
According to Bleeping Computer, in September 2021, the Mēris botnet hammered Russian internet giant Yandex with an attack peaking at 21.8 million requests per second. Previously, the same botnet pushed 17.2 million RPS against a Cloudflare customer. And last November, Microsoft’s Azure DDoS protection platform mitigated a massive 3.47 terabits per second attack with a packet rate of 340 million packets per second.
To top it off, Hacker News reports that a new service called ‘Dark Utilities’ has already attracted 3,000 users for its ability to provide command-and-control (C2) services to commandeer compromised systems. The service offers remote access, command execution, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and cryptocurrency mining operations on infected systems. Hacker News also reports that Dark Utilities emerged earlier this year, advertised as a “C2-as-a-Service” (C2aaS), offering access to infrastructure hosted on the clearnet and the TOR network and associated payloads with support for Windows, Linux, and Python-based implementations for a mere €9.99 or $10USD.
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