The Lazy Genius

Security News & Brain Dumps from Xavier Ashe, a Bit9 Client Partner

Highlights from the IBM X-Force 2012 Trend and Risk Report

Posted by Xavier Ashe on March 28, 2013

Even though I am no longer an IBMer, this is still a great report to review trends.  The X-Force Blog has posted their highlights, with a link at the bottom to get the full report.  I’ve read through the report and here’s some bits I find interesting.

  • The distribution and installation of malware on end-user systems has been greatly enabled by the use of Web browser exploit kits built specifically for this purpose. Exploit kits first began to appear in 2006 and are provided or sold by their authors to attackers that want to install malware on a large number of systems. They continue to be popular because they provide attackers a turnkey solution for installing malware on end-user systems. Java vulnerabilities have become a key target for exploit kits as attackers take advantage of three key elements: reliable exploitation, unsandboxed code execution, and cross-platform availability across multiple operating systems. Java exploits have become key targets in 2012 and IBM X-Force predicts this attack activity to continue into 2013.
  • The 2012 bank DDoS attacks appear to be coming in part not from infected PCs, but from compromised web servers that reside in high bandwidth data centers. By using security vulnerabilities in CMS systems and other popular web frameworks, the attackers were able to create a botnet of web servers that have a much longer connected uptime, as well as having more bandwidth in general, than home PCs. Because of Section I—Threats > Rising tide of security incidents > ABC’s and DDoS’s this, they were able to use fewer bots to more effectively generate larger amounts of traffic.
  • In addition to new toolkits and botnets of infected web servers, old reliable methods such as amplification attacks are being effectively used to generate high traffic. While amplification attacks such as an Internet Control Message Protocal based (ICMP) “Smurf Attack” have been used for a decade or more, attackers continue to use the same underlying principles to generate much more traffic today. In particular, DNS Amplification has been successful due to the many open or misconfigured DNS resolver servers on the Internet.
  • Malicious code activity overall continues to grow, helped along by the combined efforts of casual attackers, insider threats, cybercrime and Advanced Persistent Threats. Figure 7 demonstrates the “arms race” that exists in
    computer security today, with the number of techniques to compromise systems constantly growing, being countered, and growing again.
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