The report highlights dramatic increases in targeted attacks on enterprises; the continued growth of social networking sites as an attack distribution platform; and a change in attackers’ infection tactics, increasingly targeting vulnerabilities in Java to break into traditional computer systems. In addition, the report explores how attackers are exhibiting a notable shift in focus toward mobile devices.
Targeted attacks such as Hydraq and Stuxnet posed a growing threat to enterprises in 2010. To increase the likelihood of successful, undetected infiltration into the enterprise, an increasing number of these targeted attacks leveraged zero-day vulnerabilities to break into computer systems. Stuxnet and Hydraq teach future attackers that the easiest vulnerability to exploit is our trust of friends and colleagues. Stuxnet could not have breached its target without someone being given trusted access with a USB key. Meanwhile, Hydraq would not have been successful without convincing users that the links and attachments they received in an email were from a trusted source.
Social network platforms continue to grow in popularity and this popularity has not surprisingly attracted a large volume of malware. One of the primary attack techniques used on social networking sites involved the use of shortened URLs. Under typical, legitimate, circumstances, these abbreviated URLs are used to efficiently share a link in an email or on a web page to an otherwise complicated web address. The report found that attackers leveraged the news-feed capabilities provided by popular social networking sites to mass-distribute attacks. In a typical scenario, the attacker logs into a compromised social networking account and posts a shortened link to a malicious website in the victim’s status area.
Zero-day vulnerabilities and rootkits
Once inside an organization, a targeted attack attempts to avoid detection until its objective is met....