The week in security: Cybercrims getting professional, ransomware getting nastier

Symantec's latest annual research suggested that the incidence of zero-days had doubled in 2015 – due in large part to the growing professionalism of cybercriminals developing new malware like the hybrid GozNym banking Trojan.

The healthcare industry was flagged as the most frequently attacked, while some were wondering how an organisation as security-conscious as the NSA could have missed the insider threat posed by Edward Snowden.

This, as it was revealed the US FBI bought a new exploit from hackers to unlock the iPhone of terrorist Syed Farook.

Such statistics may drive greater use of a new breed of tools that stop malware threats by analysing behaviour and helping companies prioritise remediation efforts.

Yet there are new threats, too, with warnings that an emerging ad-serving standard could facilitate malvertising and that ransomware authors are abusing bitcoin's blockchain technology to generate encryption keys.

Just as reports suggested many businesses were admitting defeat at the hands of ransomware extortionists, security researchers figured out how to crack the Petya ransomware strain, allowing data to be decrypted for free. This, as a new form of ransomware called Jigsaw progressively deletes a few files at a time until the ransom is paid.

Even as new sensors promised to improve the handling of shipping risks, Siemens was working to to patch industrial switches that are affected by the newly revealed DROWN vulnerability, while one security vendor reported growing attention by cybercriminals on Microsoft's PowerShell tool.

Wordpress turned on encryption by default for hosted domain names, while Facebook found itself backing a Google-made security system that picked up on potential issues with digital certificates used on some of its subdomains.

Even as Google updated Chrome with a host of security fixes – including many that were picked up by outsiders rewarded for their efforts – some were raising concerns about the use of open-source code, with all its potential vulnerabilities, in corporate applications.

This, as figures suggested the average company network is accessed by 89 different vendors every week – and that only a third of companies actually knew who was logging on.

With results like these, it's no wonder businesses like Airbus are rushing to formalise their information-security governance plans.

Even as existing and new threat vectors like the AFP's newly-minted 'driftnetting' are changing the industry dynamics, new defensive mechanisms like next-generation honeypots are disrupting the way targets protect themselves.

Yet even as data-collection efforts push to new extremes – the European Union, for one, is hatching a plan to collect data on all movements by air travellers through 2018 – many organisations still don't know what risks are hiding inside their networks or how they would survive a data breach.


Take this 5 minute survey on The State of Cloud Storage & Collaboration 2016 and go in the draw to win a $500 Visa credit card.

Start Survey NOW


Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags dataBlockchainmalvertisingnsaPetyazero-day attacksdriftnettingjigsawnew malwarecollect datainsider threatsAFPencryptiondata protectionransomwaredecryptionBitcoinbanking TrojansAirbus Groupcyber criminals

More about FacebookFBIGoogleMicrosoftNSASiemensSymantecVisa

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place