Attack trends in 2014 are shaping up to bring data breaches, vulnerabilities and online banking malware to the forefront.
In our 2Q 2014 Security Roundup Report: Turning the Tables on Cyber Attacks our research shows these are the most notable and important security and privacy events of the year.
Data breaches in particular are moving from being exceptional events to nearly commonplace. According to an Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) study, more than 10 million personal records have already been exposed across over 400 separate data breach events as of July 15, 2014. EBay, P.F.Chang’s, Evernote, Code Spaces and Feedly account for the highest profile data breach events this quarter, but not all of them. This quarter is showing that data breach events can affect anyone that stores data. There is no such thing as a “safe” industry or website now.
The threat environment around vulnerabilities entered new and unprecedented territory with the expiration of security support for Windows XP and the Heartbleed event. Heartbleed showed clearly how costly, devastating and disruptive a seemingly small coding error can be. It also highlights the risks of vulnerabilities in widely shared infrastructure components. Arguably, Heartbleed is the broadest vulnerability yet found, affecting not just websites but mobile devices, desktop applications, mobile apps and embedded systems that power the emerging “Internet of Everything” (IoE).
While online banking malware isn’t a new threat, it continues to grow worldwide and to expand its reach by moving to include mobile platforms. Operation Emmental in particular shows clearly how more sophisticated security schemes like two factor authentication through mobile devices are no match for determined and well-financed attackers.
It would be a mistake to assume that more traditional threats are on the wane as these newer threats emerge and grow. Familiar threats like spam, phishing, and malware are only growing, not declining. A clear example of this is the fact that we blocked twice as many malicious files in 2Q 2014 compared with 2Q 2013. The fact that WORM_DOWNAD, also known as Conficker, is still the number 1 malware threat this quarter, a full 5 years after it burst on to the scene, shows that even old threats still have teeth.
As we prepare for the arrival of the Internet of Everything with its new threats (some of which we can’t even begin to imagine) it’s clear that quarter by quarter, the world gets more, not less dangerous. Criminals and bad actors aren’t going away any time soon, but as we note in our report, arresting them is the best option for getting cybercrime off the cyber streets.
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