Trends in Cyber Crime: A Look at the First Half of 2014

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Information Technology

  • Who (actor): Identity unknown (73 percent)
  • Targeted (target): Users (24 percent)
  • What happened (effect): Infected/exploited assets (34 percent)
  • How they did it (practice): Malware (31 percent)

Recent months have seen several high profile cases of cyber criminals not simply stealing data or attacking a website, but holding these assets for ransom. Extortion and ransoms in cyber crime are not new techniques; in June it came to light that Nokia paid millions of dollars to extortionists in 2007 to prevent the compromise of the source code for their mobile operating system Symbian. In 2014, the frequency of this practice is on the rise, mostly utilizing DDoS or stolen data as leverage.

The information technology sector faced the largest percentage of DDoS attacks in 2014, with the tag showing up in nearly 19 percent of all the sectors' CyberFacts.

Vimeo, Bitly, Shutterstock, MailChimp, Elance, oDesk, Feedly, Evernote, Basecamp, Move Inc., Mad Mimi, Meetup, and Typepad have all been threatened with DDoS attacks this year unless they paid amounts typically under $1000 in Bitcoin. These amounts are likely so low because it may makes a business more inclined to pay it than to lose a day of business. Payment also indicates a willingness to submit to financial demands and may lead to further threats and ransom.

While security pros need clear insight into their organizations vulnerabilities, internal analysis alone is not enough. Outward examination - such as who is attacking other members of your business sector with what kind of attack and how it is impacting them - is a critical component of an effective cybersecurity approach. Unfortunately, oftentimes, we spend too much time looking at only a small piece of the puzzle.

A new report recently published by SurfWatch Labs, "Trends in Cybercrime: A Social Look at the First Half 2014," aggregates and standardizes cyber crime-related data from the first six months of the year into cyber business intelligence that provides some interesting insights. The standardized cyber data, known as CyberFacts, provide instant understanding of who (Actor) did what to whom (Target), what happened (Effect), and how they did it (Practice). By harnessing the collective power of all this information that exists outside an organization’s walls – from security researcher and infosec blogger discussions to news outlets, social media, vulnerability and security data feeds and more – it’s possible to extrapolate cybersecurity trends across various industries.

Here’s a top-line look at what SurfWatch Labs found in the first half of 2014 for the six most active industries.

Jason Polancich, founder and chief architect, SurfWatch Labs, is a serial entrepreneur focused on solving complex Internet security and cyber-defense problems, with more than 20 years of experience as an intelligence analyst, software engineer, systems architect and corporate executive. Prior to founding SurfWatch Labs, Mr. Polancich co-founded Novii Design, which assisted the U.S. intelligence community and Department of Defense in building some of the largest data warehouse and analysis systems ever put into operation within the government and defense contracting sectors.


Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

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