This was a key finding from two new research projects by Check Point Software Technologies, namely the Check Point 2016 Security Report and Exploits at the Endpoint: SANS 2016 Threat Landscape Study. The research reveals critical challenges and key recommendations for IT leaders, as businesses continue to build up protections against evolving cyber threats.
In the company’s fourth annual Security Report, Check Point researchers analysed the activity of more than 31,000 Check Point gateways worldwide, revealing details on what enterprises are encountering in known and unknown malware, attack trends, and the impact of more mobile devices in the enterprise. Additionally, researchers were able to measure the impact successful breaches have had on organisations, and the added expenses that go beyond remediation costs.
In the recent SANS 2016 Threat Landscape Study, conducted in partnership with security education and research group SANS Institute, researchers surveyed more than 300 IT and security professionals across the globe to uncover the threats organisations encounter in the real world; when and how they become incidents; which types of threats had the biggest impact; and the greatest challenges enterprises face in protecting themselves.
“With billions of new connections formed every minute, the world is more globally linked than ever. Innovations like cloud, mobility and IoT are changing the way we deploy, the way we consume, and the way we secure technology,” said Doros Hadjizenonos, Country Manager of Check Point South Africa. “More and more malware is being put into our ecosystem that traditional security techniques are powerless to prevent. Given this, staying a leader requires being one step ahead of things you cannot see, know or control – and preventing attacks before they happen.”
Both the Check Point Security Report and SANS 2016 Threat Landscape Study present a comprehensive view of the entire threat landscape – from the network to the endpoint – offering key findings including:
· Unknown malware continues its exponential and evolutionary growth. Researchers found a nine-fold increase in the amount of unknown malware plaguing businesses. This was fueled by the employees – who downloaded a new unknown malware every four seconds. In total, there were nearly 12 million new malware variants discovered every month, with more new malware discovered in the past two years than in the previous decade.
· Security is lagging behind the speedy, on-the-go mobile device. With smartphones and tablets accounting for 60 percent of digital media time spent, businesses’ mobile devices present both an access curse and a business productivity blessing. While employees do not want to be the cause of a company network breach, one in five will cause one through either mobile malware or malicious Wi-Fi.
· Endpoints represent the starting points for most threats. Among the businesses surveyed, endpoints were the most common cause of breaches and the most critical component in cyber defenses, with attackers leveraging email in 75 percent of cases. Also, 39 percent of endpoint attacks bypassed the network gateway firewalls, and routine operations uncovered 85 percent of threats after they had already gotten inside the enterprise.
Both reports conclude forward-looking security starts with having a best-of-breed architecture in order to address the current and future complexities of securing IT. Researchers found a common theme of advanced threat prevention, mobile device protection and segmenting a network all critical components for the modern enterprise.
To read the full 2016 Check Point Security Report, visit: http://www.checkpoint.com/securityreport/; and to read the full results of Exploits at the Endpoint: SANS 2016 Threat Landscape Survey, visit: https://www.checkpoint.com/webinars/sans-2016-threat-landscape-study/.
Cons exploit Telegram ICO
Kaspersky Lab researchers have uncovered dozens of highly convincing fake websites claiming to be investment sites for an initial coin offering (ICO) by the Telegram messaging service. Many of these websites appear to belong to the same group. In one case alone, tens of thousands of US dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency were stolen from victims believing they were investing in ‘Grams’, Telegram’s rumoured new currency. Telegram has not officially confirmed an ICO and has warned people about fraudulent investor sites.
In late 2017, stories started to circulate that the Telegram messaging service was launching an initial coin offering (ICO) to finance a blockchain platform based on its TON (Telegram Open Network) technology. Unverified technical documentation was posted online, but there appears to have been no confirmation from Telegram itself. The resulting confusion seems to have allowed fraudsters to capitalise on investor interest by creating fake sites and stealing vast sums of money.
Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered dozens of such sites, possibly belonging to the same group, claiming to sell tokens for ‘Grams’ and inviting investors to pay with cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, lice litecoin, dash and Bitcoin dash. A record of transactions on one site revealed that the scammers were able to steal at least $35,000 US dollars’ worth of Ethereum from investors.
The researchers found that some of the websites were so convincing that even after Telegram and others began to issue warnings, they were still able to recruit potential investors. Most use a secure connection, require registration and generate a unique online wallet for each new victim, making it harder to track the money.
Judging by the content of the fake websites, it appears they may have common ownership. For example, several have the exactly the same ‘Our Team’ section.
“ICOs are a fairly risky investment and many people don’t yet fully understand how they work, so it is not surprising that high quality fake websites, with seemingly reassuring features such as a secure connection and registration are successful at luring people in. People wishing to invest in an ICO would do well to check with the company behind it and make sure they know exactly who they are giving their money to, or they may never see it again,” said Nadezhda Demidova, Lead Web-Content Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky Lab offers the following advice for users considering investing in an ICO:
- Check for warning signs: for example, some of the fake Telegram ICO websites had the same wrong image next to the name of Telegram’s Chief Product Officer.
- Do your homework: always check with the brand’s official site to verify the legitimacy of the investment site and, if necessary contact the company’s ICO teams before investing any money or currency.
- Use reliable security solutions such as Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, which will warn you if you try to visit fake internet pages.
Crouching Yeti strikes
Kaspersky Lab has uncovered infrastructure used by the Russian-speaking APT group Crouching Yeti, also known as Energetic Bear, which includes compromised servers across the world.
According to the research, numerous servers in different countries were hit since 2016, sometimes in order to gain access to other resources. Others, including those hosting Russian websites, were used as watering holes.
Crouching Yeti is a Russian-speaking advanced persistent threat (APT) group that Kaspersky Lab has been tracking since 2010. It is best known for targeting industrial sectors around the world, with a primary focus on energy facilities, for the main purpose of stealing valuable data from victim systems. One of the techniques the group has been widely using is through watering hole attacks: the attackers injected websites with a link redirecting visitors to a malicious server.
Recently Kaspersky Lab has discovered a number of servers, compromised by the group, belonging to different organisations based in Russia, the U.S., Turkey and European countries, and not limited to industrial companies. According to researchers, they were hit in 2016 and 2017 with different purposes. Thus, besides watering hole, in some cases they were used as intermediaries to conduct attacks on other resources.
In the process of analysing infected servers, researchers identified numerous websites and servers used by organisations in Russia, U.S., Europe, Asia and Latin America that the attackers had scanned with various tools, possibly to find a server that could be used to establish a foothold for hosting the attackers’ tools and to subsequently develop an attack. Some of the sites scanned may have been of interest to the attackers as candidates for waterhole. The range of websites and servers that captured the attention of the intruders is extensive. Kaspersky Lab researchers found that the attackers had scanned numerous websites of different types, including online stores and services, public organisations, NGOs, manufacturing, etc.
Also, experts found that the group used publicly available malicious tools, designed for analyzing servers, and for seeking out and collecting information. In addition, a modified sshd file with a preinstalled backdoor was discovered. This was used to replace the original file and could be authorised with a ‘master password’.
“Crouching Yeti is a notorious Russian-speaking group that has been active for many years and is still successfully targeting industrial organisations through watering hole attacks, among other techniques. Our findings show that the group compromised servers not only for establishing watering holes, but also for further scanning, and they actively used open-sourced tools that made it much harder to identify them afterwards,” said Vladimir Dashchenko, Head of Vulnerability Research Group at Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT.
“The group’s activities, such as initial data collection, the theft of authentication data, and the scanning of resources, are used to launch further attacks. The diversity of infected servers and scanned resources suggests the group may operate in the interests of the third parties,” he added.
Kaspersky Lab recommends that organisations implement a comprehensive framework against advanced threats comprising of dedicated security solutions for targeted attack detection and incident response, along with expert services and threat intelligence. As a part of Kaspersky Threat Management and Defense, our anti-targeted attack platform detects an attack at early stages by analysing suspicious network activity, while Kaspersky EDR brings improved endpoint visibility, investigation capabilities and response automation. These are enhanced with global threat intelligence and Kaspersky Lab’s expert services with specialisation in threat hunting and incident response.
More details on this recent Crouching Yeti activity can be found on the Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT website.