A cyber attack is a malicious and deliberate attempt by an individual or organization to breach the information system of another individual or organization. Usually, the attacker seeks some type of benefit from disrupting the victim’s network.
Depending on the criminal intent, a cyber attack can be random or targeted. Cyber attack methods seem to rotate in order to throw organizations off their defenses. Mega ransomware attacks dominated the news in 2017 with WannaCry and NotPetya. Cryptominers’ attacks made headlines in 2018. In 2019, cyber attacks have been a mixed bag. Phishing email cyber attacks remain a constant thorn for most organizations.
The resurgence of ransomware has been growing. Small local and state government agencies, mainly in the southeastern part of the U.S., have been victimized. Digital transformation is eroding traditional network perimeters with the adoption of cloud computing, cloud-based subscription services, and the ubiquity of mobile devices. This increased expansion of vectors means more ways to attack an organization.
Cyber Attack Trends
In its provides analysis of the year to date, looking at global cyber attack trends in malware overall, ransomware, and mobile and cloud malware.
TREND 1: Software supply chain attacks on the rise
In software supply chain attacks, the threat actor typically installs malicious code into legitimate software by modifying and infecting one of the building blocks the software relies upon. As with physical chains, software supply chains are only as strong as their weakest link.
Software supply chain attacks can be divided into two main categories. The first includes targeted attacks aiming to compromise well-defined targets, scanning their suppliers list in search of the weakest link through which they could enter. In the Shadow Hammer attack, attackers implanted malicious code into the ASUS Live Update utility, allowing them to later install back doors on millions of remote computers.
TREND 2: Evasive phishing cyber attacks
Phishing is a popular cyber attack technique and continues to be one of the biggest threats to cyber security. Advanced socially engineered evasion techniques are bypassing email security solutions with greater frequency. Check Point researchers noted a surge in sextortion scams and business email compromise (BEC), threatening victims into making a payment through blackmail or by impersonating others, respectively. Both scams do not necessarily contain malicious attachments or links, making them harder to detect. In April, one sextortion campaign went as far as pretending to be from the CIA and warned victims they were suspected of distributing and storing child pornography. Hackers demanded $10,000 in Bitcoin.
Evasive email scams include encoded emails, images of the message embedded in the email body, as well as complex underlying code that mixes plain text letters with HTML character entities. Social engineering techniques, as well as varying and personalizing the content of the emails, are additional methods allowing the scammers to fly safely under the radar of anti-spam filters and reach their target’s inbox.
TREND 3: Clouds under attack
The growing popularity of public cloud environments has led to an increase of cyber attacks targeting resources and sensitive data residing within these platforms. Following the 2018 trend, practices such as misconfiguration and poor management of cloud resources remained the most prominent threat to the cloud ecosystem in 2019. As a result, subjected cloud assets have experienced a wide array of attacks. This year, misconfiguring cloud environments was one of the main causes for a vast number of data theft incidents and attacks experienced by organizations worldwide.
Cloud cryptomining campaigns have increased with upgraded techniques capable of evading basic cloud security products. Docker hosts have been exposed and competitors’ cryptomining campaigns operating in the cloud shut down. Check Point researchers also witnessed an increase in the number of exploitations against public cloud infrastructures.
TREND 4: Mobile device attacks
Malicious actors are adapting techniques and methods from the general threat landscape to the mobile world. Banking malware has successfully infiltrated the mobile cyber arena with a sharp rise of more than 50% compared to 2018. In correlation to the growing use of banks’ mobile applications, malware capable of stealing payment data, credentials and funds from victims’ bank accounts have been pushed from the general threat landscape and became a very common mobile threat too.
10 Ways to Prevent Cyber Attacks
Even if you don’t currently have the resources to bring in an outside expert to test your computer systems and make security recommendations, there are simple, economical steps you can take to reduce your risk of falling victim to a costly cyber attack:
- Train employees in cyber security principles.
- Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business.
- Use a firewall for your Internet connection.
- Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available.
- Make backup copies of important business data and information.
- Control physical access to your computers and network components.
- Secure your Wi-Fi networks. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace make sure it is secure and hidden.
- Require individual user accounts for each employee.
- Limit employee access to data and information and limit authority to install software.
- Regularly change passwords.
Use Vitamins, Minerals Rich Diet to Fight Against COVID-19 :says Expert
During a session held at the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the health experts stressed the need for inclusion of vitamins and minerals in daily diet to build immunity for the battle against the COVID-19.
The present pandemic has brought the focus back on the role of vitamins as part of nutrition going beyond popular proteins and carbohydrates, they said on Saturday. The experts weighed in that traditional Indian foods and natural herbs are a potent combination to avert threat from the deadly virus.
“There are several foods which are rich in natural minerals and nutrients, but we destroy their nutritional value in the course of our cooking and consumption practices. Wheat, which in its original form is Dalia, it has important minerals like phosphorus. Still, in our strange wisdom we powder it into a refined maida which is nothing but starch and increases weight and risk of diabetes,” said Dr Shikha Sharma, founder and managing director of Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth.
Dr Sharma named traditional food items and Ayurvedic herbs that can increase immunity level in the body. “Barley, Channa, Sattu, seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, chia and flax among others that can be included in diets for a nutrition boost across all age groups. Ashwagandha and Giloy are potent herbs that can be given to both seniors and children. They purify the blood, build the body’s immunity, reduce stress and keep intact, healthy pH level in the body,” she added.
The session was held while concluding the second edition of the ‘Illness to Wellness’ series themed ‘Building immunity through nutritious food during COVID-19’ by ASSOCHAM. The experts also dismissed the need for a protein or carbohydrate-rich diet, instead advocated for a wholesome, balanced diet especially in times of Corona.
“The beauty of Indian traditions during COVID times is that we need the support of this amazing knowledge of Indian Ayurveda and traditions to beat it,” Dr Sharma said.
The corona virus has individually turned fatal for individuals with existing comorbidity, for such cases, Dr Sharma emphasised that the first course of action needs to address the health issues through long-term preventive measures such as exercising, avoiding sugar and a maintaining a balanced diet.
Meanwhile, Sangeeta Narayan, nutrition educator and wellness expert, commenting on the impact of proper diet on the mental health said, “Stress plays an essential part in mental health considering the current times. With everything changing, we have to be adaptive. The first and foremost thing is to have a proper 6-8 hour sleep, plan your day in advance, doing all the chores can be overwhelming so allocate tasks for each day whether living with a family or alone. Add fruits or food items rich in Vitamin C. They act as a stress buster and immunity booster. Having proper meals is important, especially a nutritious and nourishing breakfast. Exercising also plays a vital role in managing stress and keeping the mind clear.”
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