Trend Micro Q2 2015 Roundup Finds New Threats to Public Sectors

Trend Micro Q2 2015 Roundup Finds New Threats to Public Sectors
Public utilities, government attacks and targeted threats dominate the quarter

SINGAPORE August 25, 2015– The second quarter of 2015 was wrought with high profile vulnerabilities and hacks. Cybercriminals became more inventive in their attack methods to infiltrate and abuse existing technologies that are often overlooked. These developments are analyzed in the Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704TSE: 4704) Q2 security roundup report released today, “A Rising Tide: New Hacks Threaten Public Technologies.” It details the evolution of tools and methods attackers use to get the greatest return on every cybercrime investment.

“In the second quarter, we saw a shift in the threat landscape with cyber criminals becoming more sophisticated and creative, amplifying existing methods of attack, and using them in new ways,” said Dhanya Thakkar, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Trend Micro. “The ethereal outlook on the threat of cybercrime can no longer be held by the general population. This quarter demonstrated that the potential damage caused by cyber attacks extends far beyond a simple software bug to hacks of airplanes, smart cars and television stations.”

Coupled with the fact that attack volumes are of the magnitude of hundreds of millions, the threat that cyber criminals pose today is more tangible than it has ever been. Some of the key numbers from Q2 2015 demonstrate the challenges of today’s threat landscape is:

  • Number of malware detections across APAC in Q2 2015: Over 118 million
  • Number of spam messages blocked across APAC: Over 396 million
  • Hits to malicious URLs from users across APAC: Over 214 million
  • Hits to malicious URLs hosted in the APAC region: Over 50 million

Hackers are taking more strategic approaches, refining their approach and targeting more selective victims to improve their infection rates. This is reflected by the exponential increase in the use of several traditional attack methods, including a 50 percent increase in the integration of the Angler exploit kit, a 67 percent growth in overall exploit kit-related threats, and CryptoWall ransomware becoming highly targeted, with 79 percent of infections occurring in the U.S.

Additionally, government entities have realized the full impact of cyberattacks during the second quarter with massive data breaches on both the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in May and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) system in June. The OPM data breach was the largest of its kind to date, exposing personally identifiable information of approximately 21 million individuals. Other government agencies were impacted by targeted campaigns using macro malware, new command and control (C&C) servers, and the continued use of newly exploited vulnerabilities and 0-days Pawn Storm.

When looking at the Q2 threat landscape as a whole, the U.S. is a major player in both deploying and receiving various attacks, with malicious links, spam, C&C servers and ransomware are all having a major presence.

Report highlights include:
  • Hacks causing disruptions to public utilities
Broadcast networks, airplanes, automated vehicular systems and home routers pose not only the risk of malware infections, but physical inconveniences and threats.

§  Lone wolf cybercriminals gain notoriety via successful ransomware and PoS attacks
FighterPoS, solo hackers “Lordfenix” and “Frapstar,” along with Hawkeye keylogger attacks, demonstrated that single individuals are capable of making a significant impact in today’s threat marketplace.  

§  Government entities fight back against cybercrime
Interpol, Europol, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI all played a role in taking down longstanding botnet operations. Additionally, the indictment of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht brought to light the nebulous nature and dangers of the Dark Web.

§  National and political impacts were made by attacks on government organizations
The attack on OPM was a shocking realization that no one’s personal data is safe. Macro malware and island-hopping were among the tactics used to target government data in this and similar breaches.

§  Public-facing websites and mobile devices were threatened in new ways
While threats to software are always present, vulnerabilities in Web apps were proven to be just as dangerous. Attackers will leverage any vulnerability available and custom applications need custom security attention to ensure those entry points are eliminated.

A blog post regarding the report can also be viewed here:

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