Ransomware among top threat vectors – report

BY Richard Summerfield

The cyber security landscape is increasingly fraught with danger. Attacks such as the ‘WannaCry’ cryptoworm, have been headline news in recent months. According to the Cyber Threatscape Report 2017, produced by iDefense, part of Accenture Security, there will be a continuation escalation of the high profile attacks seen in the first half of 2017. As such, companies must be prepared to take action.

“The first six months of 2017 have seen an evolution of ransomware producing more viral variants unleashed by potential state-sponsored actors and cybercriminals. Our findings confirm that a new bar has been set for cybersecurity teams across all industries to defend their assets in the coming months,” said Josh Ray, managing director at Accenture Security. “While the occurrence of new cyber attack methods is not going away, there are immediate actions companies can take to better protect themselves against malicious ransomware and reduce the impact of security breaches.”

According to the report, cyber criminals are rapidly expanding their capabilities, due to factors such as the proliferation of affordable, customisable and accessible tools and exploits. Attack vectors, such as distributed denial of service-for-hire services are likely to become much more widespread as cyber criminals, both individual and state-sponsored, look for new ways to disrupt the landscape.

The report suggests that to improve cyber defences, companies should consider adopting an email analytics platform in the cloud, as well as authentication tools and spam filters. They should also update and test cyber resilience plans, and impose administration rights restrictions on local workstations to further reduce the potential impact of cyber criminality.

The study also found that cyber criminals have begun to use alternative cryptocurrencies or adopt bitcoin laundering schemes to conceal transactions. Furthermore, the report notes that state-sponsored threat actors may continue to conduct espionage activities in response to military exercises and economic sanctions.

Ensuring that adequate business continuity planning is in place is an important step organisations should take as cyber criminals become more ambitious. This requires companies to be proactive. By taking action to protect themselves against cyber attack, companies can reduce the impact of any breaches they suffer.

Report: Cyber Threatscape Report 2017

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