Everyone at risk from cyber-attacks this year

Tech Correspondent

Cryptomining, botnets and ransomware are still the biggest security threats that businesses face.

  This is according to Check Point Research’s 2020 Cyber Security Report, which highlights the main tactics cyber-criminals are using to attack organisations worldwide across all industries.

  The report reveals the key attack vectors and techniques observed by Check Point researchers during the past year. 

  Even though cryptomining declined during 2019, linked to cryptocurrencies’ fall in value and the closure of the Coinhive operation in March, 38% of companies globally were impacted by crypto-miners in 2019, up from 37% in 2018. This is because the use of cryptominers remains a low-risk, high-reward activity for criminals.

  Up to 28% of organisations globally were hit by botnet activity, an increase of over 50% compared with 2018. Emotet was the most common bot malware used, primarily because of its versatility in enabling malware and spam distribution services. Other botnet actions such as sextortion email activity and DDoS attacks also rose sharply in 2019.

 While the number of impacted organisations is relatively low, the severity of the attack is much higher; as seen in 2019’s damaging attacks against US city administrations. Criminals are choosing their ransomware targets carefully, with the aim of extorting the maximum revenue possible.

  Mobile attacks decline; 27% of organisations worldwide were impacted by cyber-attacks that involved mobile devices in 2019, down from 33% in 2018. While the mobile threat landscape is maturing, organisations are also increasingly aware of the threat, and are deploying more protection on mobiles.

 The year Magecart attacks became an epidemic; these attacks, which inject malicious code into e-commerce websites to steal customers’ payment data hit hundreds of sites in 2019, from hotel chains to commerce giants to SMBs, across all platforms.

  Currently, more than 90% of enterprises use cloud services and yet 67% of security teams complain about the lack of visibility into their cloud infrastructure, security, and compliance. The magnitude of cloud attacks and breaches continued to grow in 2019. 

  Misconfiguration of cloud resources is still the number one cause for cloud attacks, but now we also witness an increasing number of attacks aimed directly at cloud service providers.

  Lotem Finkelstein, major intelligence officer at Check Point Software Technologies says 2019 presented a complex threat landscape. “Nation states, cybercrime organisations and private contractors accelerated the cyber arms race, elevating each other’s capabilities at an alarming pace, and this continues into 2020.”

  He adds that even if an organisation is equipped with the most comprehensive, state-of-the-art security products, the risk of being breached cannot be completely eliminated.

  “Beyond detection and remediation, organisations need to adopt a proactive plan to stay ahead of cybercriminals and prevent attacks. Detecting and automatically blocking the attack at an early stage can prevent damage,” Finkelstein says. ITOnline 

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