Threats in 2019 bring the ultimate test of defenses by evading traditional security
Trend Micro has published its roundup report for the first half of 2019, revealing a surge in fileless attacks designed to disguise malicious activity. Detections of this threat alone were up 265% compared to the first half of 2018.
Out of the 1.8 billion ransomware threats gathered globally from January 2016 to June 2019 by Trend Micro Smart Protection Network (SPN) security infrastructure, Asia saw the highest number of ransomware threats (42.98%). And within Asia, India accounted for 23.88% of ransomware threats blocked by Trend Micro.
Banking threats still posed challenges to the financial sector, with RAMNIT as a cybercriminal mainstay in June 2019. In addition, India ranks first in the AMEA region (Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa) for encountering the highest number of banking malware (8,585) in the first half of 2019. The findings in 2019 so far confirm many of the predictions Trend Micro made last year. Namely, attackers are working smarter to target businesses and environments that will produce the greatest return on investment.
“Sophistication and stealth is the name of the cybersecurity game today, as corporate technology and criminal attacks become more connected and smarter,” said Nilesh Jain, Vice President, Southeast Asia and India, Trend Micro. “From attackers, we saw intentional, targeted, and crafty attacks that stealthily take advantage of people, processes and technology. However, on the business side, digital transformation and cloud migrations are expanding and evolving the corporate attack surface. To navigate this evolution, businesses need a technology partner that can combine human expertise with advanced security technologies to better detect, correlate, respond to, and remediate threats.”
Along with the growth in fileless threats in the first half of the year, attackers are increasingly deploying threats that aren’t visible to traditional security filters, as they can be executed in a system’s memory, reside in the registry, or abuse legitimate tools. Exploit kits have also made a comeback, with a 136% increase compared to the same time in 2018.
Cryptomining malware remained the most detected threat in the first half of 2019, with attackers increasingly deploying these threats on servers and in cloud environments. Substantiating another prediction, the number of routers involved in possible inbound attacks jumped 64% compared to the first half of 2018, with more Mirai variants searching for exposed devices.
Additionally, digital extortion schemes soared by 319% from the second half of 2018, which aligns with previous projections. Business email compromise (BEC) remains a major threat, with detections jumping 52% compared to the past six months. Ransomware-related files, emails and URLs also grew 77% over the same period.
In total, Trend Micro blocked more than 26.8 billion threats in the first half of 2019, over 6 billion more than the same period last year. Of note, 91% of these threats entered the corporate network via email. Mitigating these advanced threats requires smart defense-in-depth that can correlate data from across gateways, networks, servers and endpoints to best identify and stop attacks.