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Alert Logic report reveals new cyberattack research

Alert Logic report reveals new cyberattack research

Enterprise SecurityResearchTop Stories

Alert Logic, a leading provider of security-as-a-service solutions, has released its latest cybersecurity analysis, Critical Watch Report: The State of Threat Detection 2018, which shows cyberattackers are gaining vastly greater scale through new techniques such as kill-chain compression and attack automation, expanding the range of organisations under constant attack regardless of industry or size.

To prepare the cybersecurity report, Alert Logic Security Operations and Threat Intelligence team members analysed data from more than 1.2 billion anomalies, 7.2 million security events and 250,000 verified security incidents across the Alert Logic customer base of more than 4,100 organisations over a 14-month period between 2017 and 2018.

Among the notable findings in the report is the end of the traditional kill-chain, with 88% of kill-chain attacks now gaining efficiency and speed by combining what was formerly the first five phases – ‘recon’, ‘weaponisation’, ‘delivery’, ‘exploitation’ and ‘installation’ – into a single action. In the traditional kill-chain model, organisations focused on stopping cyberthreats at the earlier phases; however, the new kill-chain creates near-instantaneous cyberattacks that make many established security practices ineffective.

The report also exposes evidence that attackers have greatly expanded their use of automation to launch random and recursive attacks that are changing the way organisations have to assess risk.

These automated ‘spray and pray’ attacks roll through a set of IP addresses at massive scale, seeking vulnerabilities and immediately execute further automation to exploit them. Because these highly automated attacks hit small, medium and enterprise-sized organisations indiscriminately and at a similar rate, industry and size are no longer reliable predictors of threat risk.

Another key finding is that cryptojacking is now rampant, with many attacks featuring this as their primary motivation. In the data analysed, for example, it was observed that 88% of recent WebLogic attacks were cryptojacking attempts. The report also found that web application attacks remain the most frequent and dominant type of attack, with SQL injection attempts comprising 43% of all attacks observed.

“It’s no secret that attackers push the envelope and innovate attacks to abuse weaknesses anywhere they find them – in cloud and hybrid deployments, containerised environments and on-premises systems,” said Rohit Dhamankar, Vice President of Threat Intelligence Products at Alert Logic.

“What is troublesome is the use of force-multipliers like automation to scale attacks for increased financial gain. This report demonstrates that attackers are gaining increasing sophistication in their ability to weaponise trusted techniques to exploit common vulnerabilities and misconfigurations for purposes such as cryptomining.”

The report also establishes the prevalence of attack vectors by industry for government and education, financial services and insurance, health services, information technology and services, media communications and entertainment, not-or-profit organisations, production/manufacturing and logistics, and retail and hospitality.

In addition to the research findings, the report provides best practices for remediation and cyberhygiene, as well as recommendations on how to improve visibility and address staffing shortages, to help organisations improve their security posture.

“While attackers continue to innovate with improved agility, speed and covertness, defenders also have opportunities to evolve the way they approach their security processes, procedures, and technologies. With our deep understanding of new and enhanced attack methods, Alert Logic can be a trusted partner in helping them,” said Dhamankar.

To download a free copy of the full report, Critical Watch Report: The State of Threat Detection 2018, visit here.

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