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2018: The Year of Next-Generation Attacks

Enterprises around the globe are facing a new breed of cyber-attacks that are largely fueled by geopolitical tensions, according to Carbon Black’s 2019 Global Threat Report.  

Last year cybersecurity professionals struggled to defend against increasing crypto-mining attacks, along with fileless attacks, ransomware and commodity malware, marking 2018 as the year of the next-generation of attacks.

“Modern cyberattacks appear to increasingly...reveal how clever attackers have become in evolving to remain undetected – using techniques such as lateral movement, island hopping and counter incident response to stay invisible,” the report stated.

The data analyzed in the study found that, in aggregate, enterprises saw approximately one million attempted cyber-attacks per day, though half of today’s cyber-attacks use the victim primarily for island hopping.

Governments around the globe experienced increased attacks that appeared to stem from Russia, China and North Korea. “Of the identified fileless attacks, variants of the malware Graftor were uniquely identified as the fileless payload. The FBI has high confidence that Graftor variants are used by North Korean cyber operations, also referenced as HIDDEN COBRA, to maintain presence on victim networks and to further network exploitation,” the report stated.

In addition the threat data revealed that computers/electronics, healthcare, business services, internet/software and manufacturing were the five industries most targeted by cyber-attacks in 2018.

Kryptic was the most commonly used ransomware variant in 2018, and the five industries most targeted with ransomware were manufacturing, business services, retail, government and computers/electronics.

The data also showed that the average endpoint “was targeted by two cyberattacks per month throughout 2018. At this rate, an organization with 10,000 endpoints is estimated to see more than 660 attempted cyberattacks per day.”

Another key finding of the study found that approximately $1.8 billion of cryptocurrency-related thefts transpired last year, up from the $1.3 billion in total losses reported by the FBI in 2016, and cyber-criminals have largely shifted from Bitcoin to Monero as their currency of choice.

“Of the identified attacks, cryptocurrency exchanges are the most vulnerable target for cybercriminals. Attacks on these exchanges account for just over 27% of all reported incidents. These exchanges represent prime targets for cryptocurrency theft, fraud and harvesting of user information for follow-on targeting by these same criminals.”

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