Public sector increasingly targeted: Trend Micro Q2 2015 roundup
By Digital News Asia September 1, 2015
- Public utilities, government attacks and targeted threats dominate
- Cyber-attacks may be heading in a more ‘physical’ direction
CORPORATE networks are no longer the only ones at risk, with cybercriminals also attacking Internet-connected physical infrastructure such as petrol stations and automated vehicular systems, according to Trend Micro Inc.
If ongoing studies in transportation security are any indication, attacks may be heading in a direction that could turn hacking into a more physical concern. A successful airline hack, for example, could mean serious trouble in the skies, the company said in a statement after releasing its second-quarter 2015 security roundup report, A Rising Tide: New Hacks Threaten Public Technologies.
Additionally, government entities are being increasingly targeted, with the second quarter seeing massive data breaches at both the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in May and the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) system in June, Trend Micro said.
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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 zero-days.
Cybercriminals became more inventive in their attack methods to infiltrate and abuse existing technologies that are often overlooked, the company said in its statement.
“In the second quarter, we saw a shift in the threat landscape with cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated and creative, amplifying existing methods of attack, and using them in new ways,” said Dhanya Thakkar (pic), Asia Pacific managing director at 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,” he added.
Coupled with the fact that attack volumes are of the magnitude of hundreds of millions, the threat that cybercriminals pose today is more tangible than it has ever been, Trend Micro said.
Some of the key numbers from Q2 2015 demonstrate the challenges of today’s threat landscape:
- Number of malware detections across Asia Pacific: Over 118 million
- Number of spam messages blocked across Asia Pacific: Over 396 million
- Hits to malicious URLs from users across Asia Pacific: Over 214 million
- Hits to malicious URLs hosted in the Asia Pacific region: Over 50 million
Hackers are taking more strategic approaches, refining their approach and targeting more selective victims to improve their infection rates, Trend Micro said.
This is reflected by the exponential increase in the use of several traditional attack methods, including a 50% increase in the integration of the Angler exploit kit, a 67% growth in overall exploit kit-related threats, and CryptoWall ransomware becoming highly targeted, with 79% of infections occurring in the United States.
Looking at the Q2 threat landscape as a whole, the United States 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, Trend Micro said.
For the complete report, go here.
A blog post regarding the report can also be viewed here.
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