sb-au logo
Story image

Cloud application attacks in Q1 up by 65% - Proofpoint

18 Mar 2019

Cybersecurity and compliance company Proofpoint has released its Cloud Application Attack Snapshot: Q1 2019 research, which examined over one hundred thousand cloud application attacks aimed at global organisations between September 2018 and February 2019. 

Overall, targeting attempts increased by 65% during that time period with 40% originating in Nigeria. 

China was the second most prevalent country of origin, with 26% of attacks originating from Chinese IP addresses.  

Cloud application attacks use intelligence driven brute-force techniques (to crack passwords) and sophisticated phishing methods to lure victims into clicking and revealing their authentication credentials to break into cloud applications including Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite. 

If successful, attackers often increase their foothold in organisations by spreading laterally through internal phishing messages to infect additional users, access confidential information, and fraudulently route funds.  

“As organisations continue to move their mission-critical business functions to the cloud, cybercriminals are taking advantage of legacy protocols that leave individuals vulnerable when using cloud applications,” says Proofpoint cybersecurity strategy executive vice president Ryan Kalember. 

“These attacks are laser-focused on specific individuals, rather than infrastructure, and continue to grow in sophistication and scope.

“As a best practice, we recommend that organisations establish a cloud-first approach to security that prioritises protecting employees and educates users to identify and report these advanced techniques and methods,” he says.

Proofpoint found that the education sector was the most targeted of both brute-force and sophisticated phishing attempts.

This industry, and students especially are highly vulnerable due to their remote nature. 

Additional Proofpoint cloud application attack research findings  

Brute-force cloud app attack findings: 

  • IMAP-based password spraying attacks are the most popular and extensive technique used to compromise Microsoft Office 365 accounts. These attacks occur when cybercriminals attempt common or recently leaked credentials across many different accounts at the same time.  
  • Most brute-force attacks originated in China (53%), followed by Brazil (39%), and the U.S. (31%). 
  • Over 25% of examined Office 365 tenants experienced unauthorised logins and over 60% were actively targeted. Overall, the success ratio in Q1 2019 was 44%.  

Phishing cloud app attack findings: 

  • Most phishing cloud app attacks originate from Nigeria (63%), followed by South Africa (21%), and the United States via VPNs (11%). 
  • Attackers will often modify email forwarding rules or set email delegations to maintain access. They will also use conspicuous VPN services to bypass conditional access and geolocation-based authentication.  
Story image
Ripple20 threat has potential for 'vast exploitation', ExtraHop researchers find
One in three IT environments are vulnerable to a cyber threat known as Ripple20. This is according to a new report from ExtraHop, a cloud-native network detection and response solutions provider. More
Story image
ESET launches the latest version of its Mobile Security solution
“With this latest version of ESET Mobile Security, we want to ensure our users feel completely secure when performing financial transactions on their devices, in addition to being protected from malware and phishing attempts."More
Story image
Is cyber deception the latest SOC 'game changer'?
Cyber deception reduces data breach costs by more than 51% and Security Operations Centre (SOC) inefficiencies by 32%, according to a new research report by Attivo Networks and Kevin Fiscus of Deceptive Defense.More
Story image
CrowdStrike integrates with ServiceNow program to bolster incident response
As part of the move, users can now integrate device data from the CrowdStrike Falcon platform into their incident response process, allowing for the improvement of both the security and IT operation outcomes.More
Story image
Jamf extends Microsoft collaboration with iOS Device Compliance
Organisations will soon be able to use Jamf for Apple ecosystem management while using Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Endpoint manager to maintain conditional access.More
Story image
Revealed: The behaviours exhibited by the most effective CISOs
As cyber-threats pile up, more is being asked of CISOs - and according to Gartner, only a precious few are 'excelling' by the standards of their CISO Effectiveness Index.More