By peter oluka
In the coming year, the world will see more legitimate software being poisoned by groups targeting wider victim profiles and geographies, with the added advantage that such attacks are extremely hard to spot and mitigate, according to Kaspersky Lab’s Targeted Threat Predictions for 2018.
Other hard-to-block attacks, such as those involving high-end mobile malware are also set to rise as attackers resort to new tricks to breach increasingly well protected targets.
The annual predictions are prepared by the company’s experts, drawing on the research and experience gained over the course of the year. For 2018, Kaspersky Lab has complemented the targeted threat predictions prepared by the Global Research and Analysis Team with a series of industry and technology threat predictions.
Top advanced targeted threat predictions for 2018
In 2017, supply chain attacks such as Shadowpad and ExPetya showed how easily third-party software could be used to gain entry into enterprises.
This threat is expected to increase in 2018 as some of the world’s most dangerous threat actors start adopting the approach as an alternative to watering hole techniques or because other attempts to break in have failed.
“Supply chain attacks have proven every bit as nightmarish as we had previously theorised. As advanced threat actors continue to gain access to vulnerable development companies, back-dooring of popular or regionally popular software will become an increasingly desirable attack vector.
Supply chain attacks will allow attackers to successfully gain access to multiple enterprises in target sectors while flying under the radar of system administrators and security solutions alike,” said Juan Andrés Guerrero-Saade, Principal Security Researcher, Global Research and Analysis Team.
Other targeted threat predictions for 2018 include:
More high-end mobile malware. Over the last couple of years, the security community has uncovered advanced mobile malware which, when combined with exploits constitute a powerful weapon against which there is little protection.
Destructive attacks will continue to rise. The Shamoon 2.0 and StoneDrill attacks reported in early 2017 and the June ExPetr/NotPetya revealed a growing enthusiasm for destructive wiper attacks.
More attacks will lead with reconnaissance and profiling to protect attackers’ most precious exploits. Attackers will spend more time on reconnaissance and using profiling toolkits such as ‘BeEF’ to determine if a less-costly, non-zero day exploit will do.
Sophisticated attacks will be found exploiting the bridge between the OS and firmware. The Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) is the software interface between the firmware and the OS on modern PCs.
Kaspersky Lab expects more threat actors will make use of UEFI’s highly advanced capabilities to create malware that can be launched before any anti-malware solution, or even the OS itself, has had a chance to start.
More router and modem hacks. This well-known area of vulnerability has been largely ignored as a tool for advanced targeted attackers.
They sit at a critical juncture for an attacker intent on gaining persistent and stealthy access to a network, and could even allow an attacker to hide their trail.
Alongside these advanced threat predictions, Kaspersky Lab’s industry and technology threat predictions aim to help some of the most connected sectors understand and prepare for the security challenges they could face over the coming 12 months.
Top industry threat predictions for 2018 include
Connected vehicles are likely to face new threats as a result of growing supply chain complexity leading to a scenario where no one player has visibility of, let alone control over, all of a vehicle’s source code. This could make it easier for attackers to break in and bypass detection.
In healthcare, attacks breaching private networks to target medical equipment and data with the aim of extortion, malicious disruption or worse, could rise as the volume of specialist medical equipment connected to computer networks grows.
In financial services, the increased security of online payments means that fraudsters will turn their attention to account takeover attacks. Industry estimates suggest fraud of this type will run into billions of dollars.
Industrial security systems are likely to be at increased risk of targeted ransomware attacks. Operational technology systems are more vulnerable than corporate IT networks, and are often exposed to the Internet.
Kaspersky Lab also expects to see targeted attacks on companies for the purpose of installing cryptocurrency miners – and in time this could become a more lucrative, long term business proposition than ransomware.
Join Inlaks Live TechTalk Edition on Hyosung’s Revolutionary MV 100 ATM Model
Inlaks, the leading Information Technology Systems Integrator specialised in the deployment of highly scalable ICT Infrastructure solutions, will on Monday September 28, deploy the second edition of its virtual thought leadership segment called “TechTalk”.
Techtalk which was formerly a pre-recorded segment hosted on the organisations YouTube channel has now transitioned into a live virtual event across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The virtual edition kicked off in August 2020 with a segment on Financial Crime Mitigation, honing in on the superiority of Temenos Financial Crime Mitigation Solution with Emmanuel Orororo, Sales Manager, Financial Business, Inlaks.
The 2nd edition of Tech Talk promises to offer the same measure of insights as it dives into the world of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) with a focus on MoniValue 100, a revolutionary ATM solution by Hyosung TNS. The MoniValue 100 is especially adapted to the present times as it is a cardless, contactless and changeless solution.
Join this virtual event live by logging on to any of the social media pages below on Monday, 28th September 2020. YouTube: Inlaks, Facebook: InlaksNg, Twitter: Inlaks, Instagram: InlaksNg
Inlaks is a leading system integrator in Sub-Saharan Africa. The company partners with leading OEMs in the technology industry to provide world-class information technology solutions that exceed the needs of its customers.
Over the years, Inlaks has built a reputation as the foremost ICT and Infrastructure Solutions Provider, helping customers effectively seize new market and service opportunities.
With an impressive customer base that includes six Central Banks in West Africa, 18 of the 24 banks in Nigeria and other major customers in the West African region, Inlaks has become the dominant Information Technology Company in Africa.
Inlaks’ customers cut across various segments including Banking, Telecommunication, Oil/Gas, Power, Utilities and the Distribution sectors of the economy. For more information, please visit www.inlaks.com
Millions of Cyber Attacks Launched on Nigeria, Others- Reports
There were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA) detections over a 7-month period in Nigeria, according to Kaspersky security solutions.
Elsewhere in South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections, showing the growing desperation of the attacks.
The company reported on 28 million malware attacks in 2020 and 102 million detections of potentially unwanted programs (pornware, adware etc.) accounted for by the beginning of August 2020.
These numbers show that it’s not only the malware that attacks users but also the “grey zone” programmes that grow in popularity and disturb their experiences, while users might not even know it is there.
Potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) are programmes that are usually not considered to be malicious by themselves.
However, they are generally influencing user experience in a negative way. For instance, adware fills user device with ads; aggressive monetising software propagates unrequested paid offers; downloaders may download even more various applications on the device, sometimes malicious ones.
calculating interim results of threat landscape activity in African countries, Kaspersky researchers noticed that PUAs attack users almost four times more often than traditional malware.
They also eventually reach more users: for instance, while in South Africa, the malware would attack 415,000 users in 7-months of 2020, the figure for PUA would be 736,000.
“The reason why ‘grey zone’ software is growing in popularity is that it is harder to notice at first and that if the programme is detected, its creators won’t be considered to be cybercriminals. The problem with them is that users are not always aware they consented to the installation of such programmes on their device and that in some cases, such programmes are exploited or used as a disguise for malware downloads,” said Denis Parinov, a security researcher at Kaspersky.
By taking a closer look at PUA, it becomes apparent that they are not only more widespread but also more potent than traditional malware.
Evaluating results over the same 7-month period in Nigeria, there were 3.8 million malware attacks and 16.8 million PUA detections – which is four times as much.
Kenyan and South African threat landscapes have been more intense. In South Africa, there were almost 10 million malware attacks and a staggering 43 million PUA detections.
Kenyan users faced even more malware attacks – around 14 million, and 41 million PUA appearances, Kaspersky said.
Tech Giants Strike Deal with Advertisers over Hate Speech
Web giants including Facebook have struck a deal with advertisers on how to identify harmful content such as hate speech, after an impasse over the issue which led to boycotts of the platform.
The agreement — which also included Twitter and YouTube — laid out for the first time a common set of definitions for hateful statements online.
In July, hundreds of advertisers including big-name consumer brands suspended advertising with Facebook as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign, saying the social-media titan should do more to stamp out hatred and misinformation on its platform.
And earlier this month a group of celebrities — including Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry — stopped using Facebook and Instagram for 24 hours, to push a similar message.
The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) said in a statement Wednesday: “Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, in collaboration with marketers and agencies through the Global Alliance for Responsible Media have agreed to adopt a common set of definitions for hate speech and other harmful content and to collaborate with a view to monitoring industry efforts to improve in this critical area.”
The alliance was founded by the WFA and includes other major trade bodies.
According to the WFA, key areas of agreement included applying the alliance’s common definitions of harmful content; developing reporting standards for such content; establishing independent oversight; and rolling out tools for keeping advertisements away from harmful content.
The WFA said that properly defining online hate speech would remove the current problem of different platforms using their own definitions, which it said made it difficult for companies to decide where to put their ads.
“As funders of the online ecosystem, advertisers have a critical role to play in driving positive change and we are pleased to have reached agreement with the platforms on an action plan and timeline in order to make the necessary improvements,” said Stephan Loerke, chief executive of the WFA.
Luis Di Como, executive vice-president of global media at Unilever, a major advertiser, sounded a note of cautious optimism.
He said: “The issues within the online ecosystem are complicated, and whilst change doesn’t happen overnight, today marks an important step in the right direction.”
Speaking in July, Facebook’s founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said he remained adamant that the company did not want hate speech on the social network.
On Wednesday, the company’s vice-president for global marketing solutions, Carolyn Everson, said the agreement gave all parties “a unified language to move forward on the fight against hate online.”
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