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July 2018 Cyber Threat Intelligence: Malware, Ransomware Attack Volume Still Climbing

Just a month removed from the mid-year update to the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, the cyber threat landscape continues its volatile pace.

Analyzing the team’s most recent data, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers are recording year-to-date increases for global malware, ransomware, TLS/SSL encrypted attacks and intrusion attempts.

In addition, the SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection sandbox, with Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMITM), discovered an average of 1,413 new malware variants per day in July.

Globally, the SonicWall Capture Threat Network, which includes more than 1 million sensors across the world, recorded the following 2018 year-to-date attack data through July 2018:

  • 6,904,296,364 malware attacks (88 percent increase from 2017)
  • 2,216,944,063,598 intrusion attempts (59 percent increase)
  • 215,722,623 ransomware attacks (187 percent increase)
  • 1,730,987 encrypted threats (80 percent increase)

In July 2018 alone, the average SonicWall customer faced:

  • 2,164 malware attacks (28 percent increase from July 2017)
  • 81 ransomware attacks (43 percent increase)
  • 143 encrypted threats
  • 13 phishing attacks each day
  • 1,413 new malware variants discovered by Capture ATP with RTDMI each day

The SonicWall Capture Security Center displays a 70 percent year-over-year increase in ransomware attacks.

SonicWall cyber threat intelligence is available in the SonicWall Security Center, which provides a graphical view of the worldwide attacks over the last 24 hours, countries being attacked and geographic attack origins. This view illustrates the pace and speed of the cyber arms race.

The resource provides actionable cyber threat intelligence to help organizations identify the types of attacks they need to be concerned about so they can design and test their security posture ensure their networks, data, applications and customers are properly protected.

 

Get the Mid-Year Update

Dive into the latest cybersecurity trends and threat intelligence from SonicWall Capture Labs. The mid-year update to the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report explores how quickly the cyber threat landscape has evolved in just a few months.

Sneak Peek: 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report

The cyber security industry relies on perpetual cadence of collaboration, research, analysis and review.

For SonicWall, that comes via our in-depth cyber threat report. This year, we’re excited to announce that we will publish the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report on Tuesday, March 6.

This premier cyber security industry report puts you a step ahead of cyber criminals in the global cyber war, empowering you with proprietary security data, global knowledge and latest trends, gathered and analyzed by our leading-edge SonicWall Capture Labs Threat Network.

Reimagined and refreshed, the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report is more comprehensive, informative and actionable than ever before with:

  • A comprehensive comparison of security industry advances versus cybercriminal advances year-over-year, to help you know where you stand
  • Proprietary empirical data that you will get nowhere else, to help you confidently understand key threat trends
  • Detailed predictions on trending threats and security solutions, to help you plan and budget resources
  • Expert best practices and valuable resources, to help successfully guide you forward

Here is a sneak preview

The modern cyber war — against governments, businesses and users 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.

Unfortunately, organizations large and small are caught in the middle of a global cyber arms race with vastly different resources at their disposal. And while growing budgets do make a positive impact on the effectiveness against known exploits, the threat landscape evolves at such a rate that yesterday’s investment in technology could already be insufficient to deal with tomorrow’s cyber threats.

No one has immunity.

Headline breaches

2017 was another record year for data breaches. The 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report breaks these down by the numbers.

Ransomware

With WannaCry, Petya and Bad Rabbit all becoming headline news, ransomware was a hot topic for the second year in a row. The 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report reveals a key indicator of how attack strategies are shifting.

Memory attacks

While the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were first publicly known in early 2018, the processor vulnerabilities were actually exposed last year. In fact, Intel notified Chinese technology companies of the vulnerability before alerting the U.S. government.

Threat actors and cybercriminals are already leveraging memory as an attack vector. Since these memory-based attacks are using proprietary encryption methods that can’t be decrypted, organizations must quickly detect, capture and track these attacks once they’re exposed in memory — usually in under 100 nanoseconds. Chip-based attacks will be at the forefront of the cyber arms race for some time to come.

IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) also had a big year. The 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report examines last year’s trends to predict what will be in the crosshairs next.

Business risk

Data breaches and cyber attacks are no longer back-of-mind concerns. The 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report explains why they are the No. 1 risk to business, brand, operations and financials.

The battle within encrypted traffic

For the first time ever, the 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report will provide key empirical data on the volume of attacks leveraging SSL/TLS encryption.

Want the report first?

The cyber arms race is a challenge we face together. And it’s the core reason we’re committed to passing our findings, intelligence, analysis and research to the global public via the SonicWall 2018 Cyber Threat Report.

About the SonicWall Capture Labs Threat Network

Data for the 2018 SonicWall Annual Threat Report was gathered by the SonicWall Capture Labs Threat Network, which sources information from global devices and resources including:

  • More than 1 million security sensors in more than 150 countries and territories
  • Cross‐vector, threat‐related information shared among SonicWall security systems, including firewalls, email security, endpoint security, honeypots, content-filtering systems and the SonicWall Capture Advanced Threat Protection multi‐engine sandbox
  • SonicWall internal malware analysis automation framework
  • Malware and IP reputation data from tens of thousands of firewalls and email security devices around the globe
  • Shared threat intelligence from more than 50 industry collaboration groups and research organizations
  • Intelligence from freelance security researchers

The full 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report will feature detailed threat findings, best practices, predictions and more, to help you stay a step ahead in the global cyber war.

8 Cyber Security Predictions for 2018

In preparation for the upcoming publication of the 2018 Annual SonicWall Threat Report, we’re busy reviewing and analyzing data trends identified by SonicWall Capture Labs over the course of 2017.

The SonicWall Capture Labs Threat Research Team gathers, analyzes and vets cross-vector threat information from more than 1 million sensors around the world, performs rigorous testing and evaluation, establishes reputation scores for email senders and content, and identifies new threats in real-time.

With the New Year, it’s appropriate to recap last year’s trends, and offer a few preliminary insights into noteworthy trends we expect to see in 2018.

Ransomware will persist, evolve

Ransomware will continue to be the malware of choice. It has never been easier to make your own ransomware. With the rise of ransomware-as-a-service, even the most novice developer can create their own ransomware. As long as cybercriminals see the potential to make enough in ransom to cover the costs of development, we will continue to see an increase in variants.

However, an increase in variants does not mean an increase in successful attacks, which we will explore in detail in the 2018 Annual Cyber Threat Report.

SSL, TLS encryption will hide more attacks

For the first time, Capture Labs will publish real metrics on the volume of attacks uncovered inside encrypted web traffic. At the same time, the percentage of organizations that have deployed deep-packet inspection of encrypted threats (DPI-SSL/TLS) remains alarmingly low.

In the year ahead, we expect there will be more encrypted traffic being served online, but unencrypted traffic will remain for most public services. More sophisticated malware using encrypted traffic will be seen in cyberattacks.

In response, we expect more organizations will enable traffic decryption and inspection methods into their network security infrastructure. This expanded deployment of DPI-SSL/TLS will rely in part on the success of solution providers reducing deployment complexity and cost to lower operating expense.

Cryptocurrency cybercrime expected to be on the rise

Due to rapid rise in cryptocurrency valuations, more cryptocurrency mining and related cybercrime is expected in the near future. Attackers will be exploring more avenues to utilize victim’s CPUs for cryptocurrency mining and cryptocurrency exchanges and mining operations will remain the targets for cyber theft.

UPDATE: On Jan. 8, SonicWall Capture Labs discovered a new malware that leverages Android devices to maliciously mine for cryptocurrency.

IoT will grow as a threat vector

As more devices connect to the internet, we expect to see more compromises of IoT devices. DDoS attacks via compromised IoT devices will continue to be a main threat for IoT attacks. We also expect to see an increase in information and intellectual property theft leveraging IoT, as capability of IoT devices have been largely improved, making IoT a richer target (e.g., video data, financial data, health data, etc.). The threat of botnets will also loom high with so many devices being publically exposed and connected to one another, including infrastructure systems, home devices and vehicles.

Android is still a primary target on mobile devices

Android attacks are both increasing and evolving, such as with recently discovered malware. Earlier ransomware threats used to simply cover the entire screen with a custom message, but now more are completely encrypting the device — some even resetting the lock screen security PIN. Overlay malware is very stealthy. It shows an overlay on top of the screen with contents designed to steal victim’s data like user credentials or credit card data. We expect more of these attacks in 2018.

Apple is on the cybercrime radar

While rarely making headlines, Apple operating systems are not immune to attack. While the platform may see a fewer number of attacks relative to other operating systems, it is still being targeted. We have seen increases in attacks on Apple platforms, including Apple TV. In the year ahead, macOS and iOS users may increasingly become victims of their own unwarranted complacency.

Adobe isn’t out of the woods

Adobe Flash vulnerability attacks will continue to decrease with wider implementation of HTML5. However, trends indicate an increase in attacks targeting other Adobe applications, such as Acrobat. There are signs that hackers will more widely leverage Adobe PDF files (as well as Microsoft Office file formats) in their attacks.

Defense-in-depth will continue to matter

Make no mistake: Layered defenses will continue to be important. While malware evolves, much of it often leverages traditional attack methods.

For example, WannaCry may be relatively new, but it leverages traditional exploit technology, making patching as important as ever. Traditional email-based threats, such as spear-phishing, will continue to become more sophisticated to evade human and security system detection. Cloud security will continue to grow in relevance, as more business data becomes stored in the data centers and both profit-driven cybercriminals and nation-states increasingly focus on theft of sensitive intellectual property.

Conclusion

When gazing into our crystal ball, we’re reminded that the only thing certain is change. Look for more detailed data in our soon-to-be-published 2018 SonicWall Annual Threat Report.