Secureworks cyber study finds organisations making same mistakes year-on-year

Secureworks has announced the findings of a research report which analysed more than 1,000 incident response engagements throughout 2018. The incidents observed by Secureworks revealed that organisations are making the same fundamental security mistakes year-on-year – despite several high-profile fines and data breaches in recent months. As a result, cyber attackers are following a path of evolution rather than revolution and sticking with methods that they know will work.

The research highlights the facts that 85% of attacks monitored are financially motivated, 8% of incidents were from insider threats and only 7% of attacks were Government-sponsored. In previous years, Government-sponsored, criminal and hacktivist groups each had a distinct way of operating. For example, Government-sponsored actors often invested time and resources into developing their own malware to use in highly-targeted attacks, whereas financially motivated criminals used indiscriminate and broader-scale tactics.

Secureworks also investigated popular attack methods. Business e-mail fraud, ransomware, digital currency mining (also known as cryptomining) and banking trojan activities constituted over 60% of the total attack methods. When it came to the financially motivated attacks, 21% of these involved business e-mail frauds.

Compared to previous years, ransomware attacks tended to be more serious in their impact with threat actors increasingly trying to gain access to entire networks to deploy payloads across a large number of systems.

Government-sponsored actors continued to target organisations for various strategic objectives, while capability across groups continues to diverge. Many groups conduct entire intrusions using publicly available tools and techniques, whereas others adopt increasingly sophisticated approaches to gain access to systems.

Constantly changing IT environments, corporate priorities and relationships with third parties continue to create cyber security challenges year after year. To reduce risk exposure, organisations should close the gaps they can control and thereby make the host company less of a target.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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