Businesses and Consumers unwittingly lose millions from Cyber Criminals, risk privacy
Photo and Text By Monsi A. Serrano
While many seem to take for granted the threat and danger of cybercrime that lurks in the businesses, consumers and individuals is real, this led to a lot of victims being included in the statistics of cyber attacks not just peculiar in one country, but in the whole world right in the cyberspace.
The cybercriminals have many ways to skew their victims via ransomware, cryptojacking and even formjacking to make money, according to the world’s leading cyber security company, Symantec Corporation.
With Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR), it provides an overview of the threat landscape, including insights into global threat activity, cyber criminal trends and motivations for attackers. The report analyzes data from Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network, the largest civilian threat intelligence network in the world, which records events from 123 million attack sensors worldwide, blocks 142 million threats daily and monitors threat activities in more than 157 countries.
The key highlights from this year’s Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report include Formjacking which is dubbed as the New Get-Rich Quick Scheme for Cyber Criminals.
The Formjacking attacks are simple as it essentially virtual ATM skimming where cyber criminals inject malicious code into retailers’ websites to steal shoppers’ payment card details. On average, more than 4,800 unique websites are compromised with formjacking code every month.
Symantec takes prided for having blocked more than 3.7 million formjacking attacks on endpoints in 2018, with nearly a third of all detections occurring during the busiest online shopping period of the year – November and December.
“Formjacking represents a serious threat for both businesses and consumers,” said Symantec CEO Greg Clark.
“Without using a comprehensive security solution, consumers have no way to know if they are visiting an infected online retailer, leaving their valuable personal and financial information vulnerable to potentially devastating identity theft. For enterprises, the skyrocketing increase in formjacking reflects the growing risk of supply chain attacks, not to mention the reputational and liability risks businesses face when compromised.”
In recent years, ransomware and cryptojacking, with which cyber criminals harness stolen processing power and cloud CPU usage from consumers and enterprises to mine cryptocurrency, were the go-to methods for cyber criminals looking to make easy money. 2018 saw a decline in activity and diminishing returns, primarily due to declining cryptocurrency values and the increasing adoption of cloud and mobile computing, rendering attacks less effective. For the first time since 2013, ransomware infections declined, dropping by 20 percent. Despite this, however, enterprises should not let their guard down: Enterprise ransomware infections jumped by 12 percent in 2018, bucking the overall downward trend and demonstrating ransomware’s ongoing threat to organizations. In fact, more than eight in ten ransomware infections impact organizations.
Although cryptojacking activity peaked early last year, cryptojacking activity declined by 52 percent throughout the course of 2018. Even with cryptocurrency values dropping by 90 percent and significantly reducing profitability, cryptojacking nonetheless continues to appeal to attackers because of the low entry barrier, minimal overhead and the anonymity it offers. Symantec blocked 3.5 million cryptojacking events on endpoints in December 2018 alone.
When It Comes to Security, the Cloud Is the New PC
The same security mistakes made on PCs during their initial adoption by the enterprise are now happening in the cloud. A single misconfigured cloud workload or storage instance could cost a company millions of dollars or land it in a compliance nightmare. In the past year alone, more than 70 million records were stolen or leaked from poorly configured S3 buckets. There are also numerous easily accessible tools that allow attackers to identify misconfigured cloud resources on the internet.
“With the growing trend toward the convergence of IT and industrial IoT, the next cyber battlefield is operational technology,” said Sherif El-Nabawi, Vice President, Sales Engineering & Service Provider Sales, Asia Pacific & Japan, Symantec.
“A growing number of groups such as Thrip and Triton display interest in compromising operational systems and industrial control systems to potentially prepare for cyber warfare.”
And with the recent Cambridge Analytica data scandal and the Facebook data privacy hearings, the implementation of the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), and revelations about app location tracking and privacy bugs in widely used apps such as Apple’s FaceTime feature, consumer privacy has entered the spotlight the past year.
Digital tools that gather cell phone data for tracking children, friends or lost phones are also on the rise and clearing the way for abuse to track others without consent. More than 200 apps and services offer stalkers a variety of capabilities, including basic location tracking, text harvesting and even secret video recording.
There are several tips given by Symantec official to both consumers and businesses in the continued threat in the cyber world which would be deterrent to the vulnerability of users but still the best way is to make sure that all consumers and businesses are protected by Symantec, the number one cyber security provider in the world.
Tips for Consumers:
1) Change the default password on your device
2) Keep your operating system and software up to date
3) Be extra careful on email
5) Back-up your files
Tips for Businesses
1) Don’t get caught flat-footed
2) Prepare for the worst
3) Implement a multi-layer datebase
4) Provide ongoing training about malicious email
5) Monitor your resources
For more information about Symantec Corporation, please visit www.symantec.com