We know that as time goes on, the cybercrime network’s operations will only more closely resemble those of any legitimate, sophisticated business network. And like all enterprising businesspeople, those who are part of the “cybercriminal hierarchy”—which is discussed in the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report and illustrated below—look to increase their profits by continually innovating new products and improving upon existing ones.
This was certainly the trend in 2013: Cisco researchers observed cybercriminals applying several tried-and-true techniques in new, bold, and highly strategic ways. The Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report examines some of these actions and our associated research in detail, including:
- Brute-force login attempts: There was a threefold increase in the use of brute-force login attempts just in the first half of 2013. Cisco TRAC/SIO researchers discovered a hub of data with millions of username and password combinations that malicious actors were using to feed these actions. Many brute-force login attempts are being directed specifically at popular content-management system (CMS) platforms like WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. (Read the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report to find out why CMS platforms are favored targets—especially for adversaries trying to commandeer hosting servers in an effort to compromise the Internet’s infrastructure.)
- Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks: Another oldie but goodie among cybercrime techniques, DDoS attacks have been increasing in both volume and severity since 2012. But today’s DDoS attacks aren’t just about creating disruption for businesses or making a political statement. There is evidence some attacks are now being used as smokescreens to conceal the theft of funds. The DarkSeoul attacks, examined in the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report and a big focus for our researchers last year, are an example of this strategy. Looking ahead, we expect DDoS attacks launched through DNS amplification to be an ongoing concern. (It’s not a big leap when you consider The Open Resolver Project reports that 28 million open resolvers on the Internet pose a “significant threat.”)
- Ransomware: In 2013, we saw many attackers moving away from traditional botnet-driven infections on PCs and increasing their use of ransomware. This includes a new type of malware in this category called Cryptolocker, which our researchers discovered last fall. Ransomware prevents normal operation of infected systems until a prescribed fee is paid. It provides a direct revenue stream for attackers—and it’s hard to track.
The Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report also notes that while the tactics used by today’s profit-oriented online criminals are only growing in sophistication, there’s a shortage of security talent to help organizations address these threats. The bottom line: Most organizations just don’t have the people or systems to monitor their networks consistently. There’s also a clear need for data scientists who can help the business understand why cybersecurity needs to be a top priority, and how security and business objectives can (and should) be aligned.
Tags: 2014 annual security report, Annual Security Report, CASR, Cisco, security, TRAC
This blog post is part three of a three-part series discussing how organizations can address mobile security concerns through an architectural approach to mobility. The first post discusses how next-gen Wi-Fi models will pave the way for secure mobility. The second post highlights the risks versus the rewards of mobility.
Providing corporate network access via mobile devices is nothing new to today’s IT administrators. However, the future of BYOD and mobility will change as rising generations expect and demand more seamless and secure connectivity. Recently Tab Times editor Doug Drinkwater shared a similar idea: BYOD is still in an early phase with plenty of new challenges and opportunities ahead.
In this last installment of this security and mobility series, I’ll discuss why BYOD policies will change and outline how C-level executives can leverage employees as solution drivers in order to solidify the future of mobility within their organization. Read More »
Tags: 2014 annual security report, architecture, Cisco, future of mobility, infrastructure, mobile, mobile device, mobile security, mobile workspace, mobility, network, security, wi-fi, wifi, wireless
This blog is part two of a three-part blog series discussing how organizations can address mobile security concerns through an architectural approach to mobility.
In my first post of this three-part series, I discussed how next-gen Wi-Fi models will pave the way for secure mobility and the value of secure Wi-Fi. In this post I’d like to take the mobility conversation a bit further and outline potential risks and rewards that IT departments face when deciding to deploy mobility solutions in our Internet of Everything (IoE) landscape.
A big factor for IT to adopt a mobility strategy with new technology and solutions is weighing the practical risks versus the rewards they stand to gain. A recent ISACA survey of IT professionals offered insight into how employed consumers think and act in terms of security and mobility. The study and ISACA’s 2013 IT Risk/Reward Barometer reveal:
- Only 4% of those surveyed named the makers of their mobile phone apps as the entity they most trust with their personal data
- 90% don’t always read privacy policies before downloading apps to their devices
Most of us are familiar with the rewards of mobility, but the belief and behavior gap illustrated by the ISACA survey proves we need to better understand risks of mobility. Read More »
Tags: 2014 annual security report, architecture, Cisco, future of mobility, infrastructure, mobile device, mobile workspace, mobility, mobility security, security, wi-fi, wifi, wireless
A few months ago we discussed the various ways that consumer PII is compromised. The recent attacks against Target and Neiman Marcus illustrate the constant threat that payment card accepting retailers of all sizes face. Yesterday Reuters reported that similar breaches over the holidays affected “at least three other well-known U.S. retailers”. Given the current onslaught, it’s a good time for retailers to examine their detection capabilities before a payment card data attack, while creating new goals for shortening remediation windows during and after an attack.
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Tags: Alina, Breach, Card, data, detection, Dexter, encryption, hardware, Lancope, malware, NSM, Payment, PII, POS, remediation, terminal, TRAC, Trackr
In October 2013, Cisco TRAC discussed Network Time Protocol (NTP) as a possible vector for amplified distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Litnet CERT has since revealed that their NTP servers were used in a denial of service (DoS) attack. Symantec also published information regarding an NTP amplification-based DDoS attack that occurred in December 2013. On December 7, 2013, a hackforums.net user posted an NTP amplification DDoS script to Pastebin. The NTP DDoS script is heavily obfuscated Perl, though the plain text at the top credits the “leaking” of the script to an individual who goes by the handle Starfall. Brian Krebs also mentioned someone going by the name Starfall as a paying user of booter.tw. They may be the same person.
Decoding the obfuscated Perl yields some interesting insights. For example, this code near the top of the script has nothing to do with the NTP DDoS functionality:
The code above downloads a program called spoof.pl from IP 220.127.116.11, then runs and erases that program while writing the text “j00 g0t 0wn3d s0n” into a hidden file. Unfortunately, we were unable to obtain a copy of the spoof.pl script, but the ominous “j00 g0t 0wn3d s0n” text indicates the purpose of the program was likely to compromise the machine of anyone who was running the obfuscated NTP DDoS script. Is there no honor among hackers?
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Tags: DDoS, distributed denial of service, dos, NTP, security