SecurityBrief Australia logo
Australia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Here’s what the threat landscape currently looks like, according to Fortinet

By Patrick Martlew
Fri 22 Jun 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Cybersecurity software provider Fortinet has published new research that suggest cybercriminals are evolving their attack methods to increase their success rates and to accelerate infections.

The findings come from the vendor’s Global Threat Landscape Report, which draws conclusions based on the collective intelligence of FortiGuard Labs (with data sourced from the company’s global array of sensors) during Q1 2018.

According to Fortinet, while ransomware continues to impact organisations in destructive ways, there are indications that some cybercriminals now prefer hijacking systems and using them for cryptomining rather than holding them for ransom.

Fortinet regional director for A/ NZ Jon McGettigan says, “We face a troubling convergence of trends across the cybersecurity landscape.

“Malicious cyber actors are demonstrating their efficiency and agility by exploiting the expanding digital attack surface, taking advantage of newly announced zero-day threats, and maximising the accessibility of malware for bad intent.

“In addition, IT and OT teams often don’t have the resources necessary to keep systems appropriately hardened or protected. However, implementing a security fabric which prioritises speed, integration, advanced analytics, and risk-based decision making can enable comprehensive protection at machine speed and scale, McGettigan says.”

Looking specifically towards the A/NZ region, Fortinet A/NZ network and security strategist Jack Chan says trends from previous quarters show no sign of slowing.

“Earlier this year we saw cryptojacking on the rise, and have found another 30% jump in this report,” Chan says.

“We also continue to see certain organisations more susceptible to attack, such as healthcare, education and local government, with specific ransomware, SamSam, targeted towards them. With threats continuing to rise, following best practice and tracking, monitoring, automating patching and applying the necessary security controls is essential for local enterprises.”

Cybercriminals looking to achieve success at speed and scale

Fortinet’s global data indicates that cybercriminals are getting better and more sophisticated in their use of malware and leveraging newly announced zero-day vulnerabilities to attack at speed and scale.

While the number of exploit detections per firm dropped by 13% in Q1 of 2018, the number of unique exploit detections grew by over 11%, and 73% of companies experienced a severe exploit.

Spike in cryptojacking

Fortinet says Malware is evolving and becoming more difficult to prevent and detect.

The prevalence of cryptomining malware more than doubled from quarter to quarter, growing from 13% to 28%.

Cryptomining malware is also showing incredible diversity for such a relatively new threat as it continues to grow in the A/NZ region.

Cybercriminals are creating stealthier file-less malware to inject infected code into browsers with less detection.

As well as this, miners are also targeting multiple operating systems as well as different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Dash, and Monero, despite the drop in cryptocurrency popularity in recent months.

Fortinet says they are also fine-tuning and adopting delivery and propagation techniques from other threats based on what was successful or unsuccessful to improve future success rates.

Targeted attacks

The impact of destructive malware remains high, particularly as criminals combine it with designer attacks on high-profile events, such as the Olympics or Commonwealth Games.

For these types of more targeted attacks, criminals conduct significant reconnaissance on an organisation before launching an attack, which helps them to increase success rates.

Afterwards, once they penetrate the network, attackers spread laterally across the network before triggering the most destructive part of their planned attack.

The Olympic Destroyer malware and the more recent SamSam ransomware are examples of where cybercriminals combined a designer attack with a destructive payload for maximum impact.

Ransomware continues to disrupt

The growth in both the volume and sophistication of ransomware continues to be a significant security challenge for organisations.

Ransomware continues to evolve, leveraging new delivery channels such as social engineering, and new techniques such as multi-stage attacks to evade detection and infect systems.

GandCrab is one type of damaging ransomware that emerged in January, with the distinction of being the first ransomware to require Dash cryptocurrency as a payment.

Multiple attack vectors

Although the side channel attacks dubbed Meltdown and Spectre dominated the news headlines during the quarter, Fortinet says some of the top attacks targeted mobile devices or known exploits on router, web or Internet technologies.

21% of organisations reported mobile malware (an increase of 7%)  demonstrating that IoT devices continue to be targeted.

Cybercriminals also continue to recognise the value of exploiting known vulnerabilities that haven’t been patched along with recently discovered zero-days for increased opportunity.

Microsoft continued to be the number one target for exploits, and routers took the number two spot in total attack volume.

Cyber hygiene - more than just patching

Fortinet says when looking at measurements that detail how long botnet infections persist (based on the number of consecutive days in which continued communications are detected) it’s clear that hygiene involves more than just patching.

It is also about cleanup. Data showed that 58.5% of botnet infections are detected and cleaned up the same day, while 17.6% of botnets persist for two days in a row and 7.3% last three days and about 5% persist for more than a week.

As an example, the Andromeda botnet was taken down in Q4 2017 but data from Q1 found it continued to show up prominently in both volume and prevalence.

Attacks against Operational Technology (OT)

While OT attacks are a smaller percentage of the overall attack landscape, Fortinet still says the trends are concerning.

This sector is increasingly becoming connected to the Internet, with serious potential ramifications for security.

Currently, the vast majority of exploit activity is directed against the two most common industrial communication protocols, primarily because they are so widely deployed.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
ABI Research
75% of 5G networks to advance to 5G-Advanced by 2030 
5G-advanced is set to launch in 2025, and 75% of 5G networks will upgrade by 2030, according to ABI Research. 
Story image
Ransomware
Examining the future of ransomware threats with Vectra’s CTO
As customers' valuable data move to the cloud, so will ransomware. What is the current landscape and what do we need to know?
Story image
Apple
Your tools, your choice: why allow employees to choose their own devices?
Jamf Australia says giving your team the freedom to work with their digital device of choice could help to attract and retain top talent in a tight labour market.
Story image
Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)
LogRhythm updates SIEM Platform with latest innovations
LogRhythm has announced the launch of version 7.9 of the LogRhythm SIEM Platform and updates to LogRhythm NDR and LogRhythm UEBA.
Story image
Ransomware
Businesses unprepared to defend against ransomware attacks
Ransomware attacks continue to impact organisations worldwide with high costs, but businesses are still largely unprepared.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Eight top DevSecOps trends to support IT innovation in 2022
The use of DevSecOps practices is growing, as it is increasingly seen as the best way to produce high-quality and secure code. So what are the current trends?
Story image
Document Management
NZ's FileInvite raises $10M in latest investment round
FileInvite has raised $10 million in Series A investment to fast-forward the extinction of email for requesting and collecting documents online.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Five ways your ERP is letting you down and why it's time for a change
Wiise explains while moving to a new system may seem daunting, the truth is that legacy systems could be holding your business back.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Without trust, your security team is dead in the water
The rise of cyberattacks has increased the need for sound security that works across any type of business, but with any change, buy-in is essential. Airwallex explains why.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Delinea’s Joseph Carson recognised with OnCon Icon Award
Delinea chief security scientist and advisory CISO Joseph Carson has been recognised as a Top 50 Information Security Professional in the 2022 OnCon Icon Awards.
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
PwC
WSLHD and PwC’s Consulting Business came together to solve through the challenges of COVID-19. A model of care was developed to the NSW Health Agency for Clinical Innovation guidelines with new technology platforms and an entirely new workforce.
Link image
Story image
Media
Registrations for the W.Media Sydney Cloud and Datacenter Convention 2022 now open
Are you a C-Level executive looking to enhance your knowledge in the cloud and data center space in order to get the best results for your company?
Story image
State Library of Victoria
State Library of Victoria entrusts Oracle support and security to Rimini Street
“Our finance team are very happy with the support and security that Rimini Street provides, which keeps our assets and our customers secure."
Story image
Malware
Colt launches new SASE Gateway solution with Versa
Colt Technology Services’ customers now have access to an integrated full SASE solution that brings together SD WAN and SSE features.
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
Apple
Jamf introduces new content filtering solution for education providers
Jamf has announced the launch of Jamf Safe Internet, a new offering that looks to deliver a safe online experience to students while offering better management options for admins.
PwC
PwC's Consulting Business and PwC's Indigenous Consulting are proud to play an important role in helping Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience build IMAGI-NATION, a free online university for marginalised communities around the world.
Link image
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Documentation
Adobe study finds lack of digital trust and utilisation in Australian Government agencies
New research commissioned by Adobe has revealed a significant lack of digital trust within Australian Government departments, along with the continued underutilisation of key digital processes.
Story image
Digital Fingerprint
Decline in counterfeit cherries after digital fingerprinting
Reid Fruits says there’s been a dramatic decline in counterfeit products for its cherries over the past three export seasons to Asia because of digital fingerprinting.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Email threats spike 101%, remains a top attack vector
"Each year we see innovation in the threat landscape, but each year email remains a major threat to organisations."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Tech and data’s role in the changing face of compliance
Accenture's study found that 93% of respondents agree or strongly agree new technologies such as AI and cloud make compliance easier.
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CrowdStrike
Scott Jarkoff joins us today to discuss current trends in the cyber threat landscape, and the reporting work CrowdStrike is doing to prevent further cyber harm.
Story image
Document Management
Regaining digital trust and enhancing digitisation in Australian Government agencies
Having a digitised ecosystem of documents, tools and data can help bolster security, improve workflow and ultimately create better services.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
Cybersecurity
Security driving customer identity & access management adoption
"CIAM allows businesses to embed a secure identity layer into their consumer and SaaS applications, facilitating secure, seamless end user experiences."
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Cybersecurity
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Gartner
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Cybersecurity
How organisations can mitigate IoT and IIoT security risks
IoT and IIoT come with inherent risks because they are often deployed faster than they can be secured, putting organisations in danger of cyber threats. Here are tips on how to mitigate those risks.
Story image
Compliance
SentinelOne integrates with Torq to empower security teams
"With Torq, security teams can extend the power of SentinelOne to systems across the organisation to benefit from a proactive security posture.”
Story image
MSP
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Training
Barracuda customises training to fit ACSC Essential Eight
Barracuda has announced that its Security Awareness Training now provides a customised training curriculum in line with the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) Essential Eight.
Story image
Payroll
How New South Wales state departments achieved cloud migration success
State departments in New South Wales are heading to the cloud to achieve better workflow solutions, and one company is paving the way for their success.
Story image
Cloudera
Overcoming hybrid and multi-cloud challenges to drive innovation
Driven by improvements in technology, financial services companies have advanced both internal and external systems and processes, with the likes of digitisation, personalisation and risk management redefining the industry.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Vectra AI named as AWS security competency partner
Threat detection and response company Vectra AI has announced that it has become an Amazon Web Services Security Competency Partner.
Story image
Solutions
Progress launches latest version of network visibility solution
In Flowmon 12 network solution, Progress has expanded its support for public cloud provider flow log monitoring and launched new features.