Cyber-attacks and the Monday morning blues

  • Decline in detected malware attacks coincides perfectly with weekends
  • Security vulnerabilities mostly related to end-user systems and not servers
Cyber-attacks and the Monday morning blues

THERE has been a massive increase in malware detections on Monday mornings when users reconnect their devices to the corporate network, according to new research published recently in the annual NTT 2015 Global Threat Intelligence Report.
This trend supports the contention that the security perimeter in organisations is dissolving, NTT subsidiary Dimension Data said in a statement.
This is because end-users increasingly use their devices both inside and outside the corporate security perimeter. In fact, the user is today’s new organisation perimeter, the company said.
What’s more, IT and security management can no longer count on well-defined network security perimeters to protect their organisations, it added.
The Global Threat Intelligence Report contains analysis of over six billion security events worldwide gathered during 2014 by NTT companies including Dimension Data, Solutionary, NTT Com Security, NTT R&D, and NTT Innovation Institute (NTTi3).
Dimension Data group executive of security Matthew Gyde said that threats targeting end-users are higher than ever. In addition, security vulnerabilities are mostly related to end-user systems and not servers.
“It appears that successful exploits occurs over the weekend when end-users – and their devices – are outside the security controls of the corporate network.
“This indicates that traditional security controls are effective at protecting the corporate network – however, assets that transition between corporate and external access points are at greater risk,” he said.
Gyde said controls that address this trend must focus on the user and their devices, regardless of location, and points out that seven of the top 10 vulnerabilities identified were on end-user systems.
“End-users become a liability and that’s because their devices often have many unpatched vulnerabilities,” he said.
According to Gyde, the malware industry is maturing, with malware becoming commoditised and available through dark net marketplaces. This means the barrier to entry for cybercriminals is a minimal financial investment, but for a potentially large return.
“And this trend is not about to disappear  As users become more accustomed to always-on, real-time access to corporate data, they also become the targets of criminals wanting those same data sources,” he said.
“In summary, users and their devices become the criminal’s entry point,” he added.
Other highlights of the Global Threat Intelligence Report include:

  • Finance continues to represent the No 1 targeted sector with 18% of all detected attacks.
  • Across the world, an astounding 56% of attacks against the NTT global client base originated from IP (Internet Protocol) addresses within the United States. This does not necessarily mean that the attackers reside in the United States, however.
  • 76% of identified vulnerabilities throughout all systems in the enterprise were more than two years old, and almost 9% of them were over 10 years old.
  • Of the vulnerabilities discovered across enterprises worldwide, seven of the top 10 exposed vulnerabilities resided within user systems and not on servers.
  • Threats against the end-user are higher than ever, attacks show a clear and continuing shift towards success in compromising the end point.
  • Attacks against Business & Professional Services increased from 9% to 15%.

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