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Symantec Internet Security Threat Report shows increased endpoint technology risks
Posted on 26-Mar-2018 18:29 | Filed under: News



This year’s Symantec Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) indicates New Zealand is a global hotspot for crypto-related attacks. The nation ranks 29th globally as a destination for crypto-miners, programmes that steal computer and mobile phone resources, slowing down and even damaging devices. 

 

“Crypto-jacking, while new, is becoming increasingly pervasive with the rise of cryptocurrency,” said Mark Shaw, Technology Strategist, Pacific Region, Symantec. “New Zealand is an affluent nation with high levels of connectivity, this makes Kiwis a lucrative, and accessible target for cybercriminals.”

 

As well as resource-intensive attacks, crypto-jackers can mine though a website’s traffic unbeknownst to the user or site owner.

 

“Approaches to malicious crypto-mining are growing in sophistication and so too should organisations, and every-day-Kiwis, defense against these malicious programmes – or people and businesses risk paying for someone else’s profit,” said Mark.

 

The report also shows that New Zealand has marginally improved its overall cybersecurity standing.  

 

“Since last year the New Zealand government has improved its cybersecurity posture, launching the CERT, as well as adding a Cybersecurity portfolio. Netsafe launched some good awareness campaigns like their Re:scam AI campaign too. While all these are good steps forward and help Kiwis understand the dangers of the web, we’re also seeing that Kiwis keep falling for the same scams,” added Shaw. 

 

New Zealanders continue to fall for phishing scams.

 

“It’s wonderful that Kiwis trust one another, but on the internet we need to take a step back and remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” added Shaw.

 

“Cryptojacking is a rising threat to cyber and personal security,” said Mike Fey, president and COO, Symantec. “The massive profit incentive puts people, devices and organisations at risk of unauthorised coinminers siphoning resources from their systems, further motivating criminals to infiltrate everything from home PCs to giant data centres.”

 

During the past year, an astronomical rise in cryptocurrency values triggered a cryptojacking gold rush with cyber criminals attempting to cash in on a volatile market. Detections of coinminers on endpoint computers increased by 8,500 percent in 2017.

 

With a low barrier of entry – only requiring a couple lines of code to operate – cyber criminals are harnessing stolen processing power and cloud CPU usage from consumers and enterprises to mine cryptocurrency. Coinminers can slow devices, overheat batteries, and in some cases, render devices unusable. For enterprise organisations, coinminers can put corporate networks at risk of shutdown and inflate cloud CPU usage, adding cost.

 

“Now you could be fighting for resources on your phone, computer or IoT device as attackers use them for profit,” said Kevin Haley, director, Symantec Security Response. “People need to expand their defences or they will pay for the price for someone else using their device.”

 

IoT devices continue to be ripe targets for exploitation. Symantec found a 600 percent increase in overall IoT attacks in 2017, which means that cyber criminals could exploit the connected nature of these devices to mine en masse. Macs are not immune either with Symantec detecting an 80 percent increase in coin mining attacks against Mac OS. By leveraging browser-based attacks, criminals do not need to download malware to a victim’s Mac or PC to carry out cyber attacks.

 

The number of targeted attack groups is on the rise with Symantec now tracking 140 organised groups. Last year, 71 percent of all targeted attacks started with spear phishing – the oldest trick in the book – to infect their victims. As targeted attack groups continue to leverage tried and true tactics to infiltrate organisations, the use of zero-day threats is falling out of favour. Only 27 percent of targeted attack groups have been known to use zero-day vulnerabilities at any point in the past.

 

The security industry has long discussed what type of destruction might be possible with cyber attacks. This conversation has now moved beyond the theoretical, with one in ten targeted attack groups using malware designed to disrupt.

 

Threats in the mobile space continue to grow year-over-year, including the number of new mobile malware variants which increased by 54 percent. Symantec blocked an average of 24,000 malicious mobile applications each day last year. As older operating systems continue to be in use, this problem is exacerbated. For example, with the Android operating system, only 20 percent of devices are running the newest version and only 2.3 percent are on the latest minor release.

 

Mobile users also face privacy risks from grayware apps that aren’t completely malicious but can be troublesome. Symantec found that 63 percent of grayware apps leak the device’s phone number. With grayware increasing by 20 percent in 2017, this isn’t a problem that’s going away.

 



More information: http://go.symantec.com/istr...






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