main

Attack MitigationAttack Types & Vectors

5 Ways Modern Malware Defeats Cyber Defenses & What You Can Do About It

January 17, 2019 — by Radware0

modern_malware-960x640.jpg

Malware is a key vector for data breaches. Research shows that 51% of data breaches include the usage of malware, whether for initial breach, expansion within the network or heisting data. Yet despite malware being a pivotal attack vector, companies are unable to defend against data-theft malware running wild in their network. In fact, some of the biggest and most well-publicized breaches ever were the result of undetected malware.

Why? Modern malware is built to evade traditional anti-malware defenses. Today’s malwares are sophisticated multi-vector attack weapons designed to elude detection using an array of evasion tools and camouflage techniques. In the game of chess between attackers and defenders, hackers constantly find new ways to stay one step ahead of existing defenses.

Modern Malware

Here are five common evasion techniques used by modern malware and how they beat traditional anti-malware defenses.

Polymorphic malware: Many traditional anti-malware defenses operate using known malware signatures. Modern data-theft malware counteracts this by constantly morphing or shapeshifting. By making simple changes to the code, attackers can easily generate an entirely new binary signature for the file.

Shapeshifting, zero-day malware beats signature-based defenses such as anti-virus, email filtering, IPS/IDS, and sandboxing.

File-less malware: Many anti-malware tools focus on static files and operating-systems (OS) processes to detect malicious activity. However, an increasingly common technique by attackers is to use file-less malware which is executed in run-time memory only, leaves no footprint on the target host and is therefore transparent to file-based defenses.

File-less malware beats IPS/IDS, UEBA, anti-virus, and sandboxing.

[You may also like: Threat Alert: MalSpam]

Encrypted payloads: Some anti-malware defense use content scanning to block sensitive data leakage. Attackers get around this by encrypting communications between infected hosts and Command & Control (C&C) servers.

Encrypted payloads beat DLP, EDR, and secure web gateways (SWG).

Domain generation algorithm (DGA): Some anti-malware defenses include addresses of known C&C servers, and block communication with them. However, malwares with domain generation capabilities get around this by periodically modifying C&C address details and using previously unknown addresses.

Beats secure web gateways (SWG), EDR, and sandboxing.

Host spoofing: spoofs header information to obfuscate the true destination of the data, thereby bypassing defenses that target the addresses of known C&C servers.

Beats secure web gateways (SWG), IPS/IDS and sandboxing.

[You may also like: Micropsia Malware]

What Can You Do?

Beating zero-day evasive malware is not easy, but there are several key steps you can take to severely limit its impact:

Apply multi-layer defenses: Protecting your organization against evasive malware is not a one-and-done proposition. Rather, it is an ongoing effort that requires combining endpoint defenses (such as anti-virus software) with network-layer protection such as firewalls, secure web gateways and more. Only multi-layered protection ensures complete coverage.

Focus on zero-day malware: Zero-day malware accounts for up to 50% of malware currently in circulation. Zero-day malware frequently goes unrecognized by existing anti-malware defenses and is a major source of data loss. Anti-malware defense mechanisms that focus squarely on identifying and detecting zero-day malwares is a must have.

[You may also like: The Changing Face of Malware: Malware Being Used as Cryptocurrency Miners]

Implement traffic analysis: Data theft malware attacks take aim at the entire network to steal sensitive data. Although infection might originate from user endpoints, it is typically the aim of attackers to expand to network resources as well. As a result, it is important for an anti-malware solution to not just focus on  one area of the network or resource type, but maintain a holistic view of the entire network and analyze what is happening.

Leverage big data: A key ingredient in detecting zero-day malware is the ability to collect data from a broad information base amassed over time. This allows defenders to detect malware activity on a global scale and correlate seemingly unrelated activities to track malware development and evolution.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

Download Now

Attack Types & VectorsDDoSDDoS Attacks

Top 3 Cyberattacks Targeting Proxy Servers

January 16, 2019 — by Daniel Smith0

Proxy-960x540.jpg

Today, many organizations are now realizing that DDoS defense is critical to maintaining an exceptional customer experience. Why? Because nothing diminishes load times or impacts the end user’s experience more than a cyberattack.

As a facilitator of access to content and networks, proxy servers have become a focal point for those seeking to cause grief to organizations via cyberattacks due to the fallout a successful assault can have.

Attacking the CDN Proxy

New vulnerabilities in content delivery networks (CDNs) have left many wondering if the networks themselves are vulnerable to a wide variety of cyberattacks. Here are five cyber “blind spots” that are often attacked – and how to mitigate the risks:

Increase in dynamic content attacks. Attackers have discovered that treatment of dynamic content requests is a major blind spot in CDNs. Since the dynamic content is not stored on CDN servers, all requests for dynamic content are sent to the origin’s servers. Attackers are taking advantage of this behavior to generate attack traffic that contains random parameters in HTTP GET requests. CDN servers immediately redirect this attack traffic to the origin—expecting the origin’s server to handle the requests. However, in many cases the origin’s servers do not have the capacity to handle all those attack requests and fail to provide online services to legitimate users. That creates a denial-of-service situation. Many CDNs can limit the number of dynamic requests to the server under attack. This means they cannot distinguish attackers from legitimate users and the rate limit will result in legitimate users being blocked.

SSL-based DDoS attacks. SSL-based DDoS attacks leverage this cryptographic protocol to target the victim’s online services. These attacks are easy to launch and difficult to mitigate, making them a hacker favorite. To detect and mitigate SSL-based attacks, CDN servers must first decrypt the traffic using the customer’s SSL keys. If the customer is not willing to provide the SSL keys to its CDN provider, then the SSL attack traffic is redirected to the customer’s origin. That leaves the customer vulnerable to SSL attacks. Such attacks that hit the customer’s origin can easily take down the secured online service.

[You may also like: SSL Attacks – When Hackers Use Security Against You]

During DDoS attacks, when web application firewall (WAF) technologies are involved, CDNs also have a significant scalability weakness in terms of how many SSL connections per second they can handle. Serious latency issues can arise. PCI and other security compliance issues are also a problem because they limit the data centers that can be used to service the customer. This can increase latency and cause audit issues.

Keep in mind these problems are exacerbated with the massive migration from RSA algorithms to ECC and DH-based algorithms.

Attacks on non-CDN services. CDN services are often offered only for HTTP/S and DNS applications.  Other online services and applications in the customer’s data center, such as VoIP, mail, FTP and proprietary protocols, are not served by the CDN. Therefore, traffic to those applications is not routed through the CDN. Attackers are taking advantage of this blind spot and launching attacks on such applications. They are hitting the customer’s origin with large-scale attacks that threaten to saturate the Internet pipe of the customer. All the applications at the customer’s origin become unavailable to legitimate users once the internet pipe is saturated, including ones served by the CDN.

[You may also like: CDN Security is NOT Enough for Today]

Direct IP attacks. Even applications that are served by a CDN can be attacked once attackers launch a direct hit on the IP address of the web servers at the customer’s data center. These can be network-based flood attacks such as UDP floods or ICMP floods that will not be routed through CDN services and will directly hit the customer’s servers. Such volumetric network attacks can saturate the Internet pipe. That results in degradation to application and online services, including those served by the CDN.

Web application attacks. CDN protection from threats is limited and exposes web applications of the customer to data leakage and theft and other threats that are common with web applications. Most CDN- based WAF capabilities are minimal, covering only a basic set of predefined signatures and rules. Many of the CDN-based WAFs do not learn HTTP parameters and do not create positive security rules. Therefore, these WAFs cannot protect from zero-day attacks and known threats. For companies that do provide tuning for the web applications in their WAF, the cost is extremely high to get this level of protection. In addition to the significant blind spots identified, most CDN security services are simply not responsive enough, resulting in security configurations that take hours to manually deploy. Security services are using technologies (e.g., rate limit) that have proven inefficient in recent years and lack capabilities such as network behavioral analysis, challenge-response mechanisms and more.

[You may also like: Are Your Applications Secure?]

Finding the Watering Holes

Waterhole attack vectors are all about finding the weakest link in a technology chain. These attacks target often forgotten, overlooked or not intellectually attended to automated processes. They can lead to unbelievable devastation. What follows is a list of sample watering hole targets:

  • App stores
  • Security update services
  • Domain name services
  • Public code repositories to build websites
  • Webanalytics platforms
  • Identity and access single sign-on platforms
  • Open source code commonly used by vendors
  • Third-party vendors that participate in the website

The DDoS attack on Dyn in 2016 has been the best example of the water-holing vector technique to date. However, we believe this vector will gain momentum heading into 2018 and 2019 as automation begins to pervade every aspect of our life.

Attacking from the Side

In many ways, side channels are the most obscure and obfuscated attack vectors. This technique attacks the integrity of a company’s site through a variety of tactics:

  • DDoS the company’s analytics provider
  • Brute-force attack against all users or against all of the site’s third-party companies
  • Port the admin’s phone and steal login information
  • Massive load on “page dotting”
  • Large botnets to “learn” ins and outs of a site

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

Download Now

Attack Types & VectorsSecurity

Threat Alert: MalSpam

January 10, 2019 — by Daniel Smith0

malware-960x720.jpg

Radware researchers have been following multiple campaigns targeting the financial industry in Europe and the United States. These campaigns are designed to commit fraud via credential theft by sending MalSpam, malicious spam that contains banking malware like Trickbot and Emotet, to unsuspecting users. If the users open the document, they will become infected, and the malware will harvest and extract data from the victim’s machine for fraudulent purposes. Once the data is retrieved from their c2 server, the stolen credentials will be used to commit fraud against the victim’s bank account, leveraged in a credential stuffing attack or quickly sold for profit.

One of the things that make these two pieces of banking malware stand out is their ability to evolve and consistently update their modules to allow additional capabilities. Additionally, we have seen denial of service attacks in the past that have coincided with these security events. Occasionally attackers have been known to launch a flood of malicious traffic, known as a smoke screen attack, to distract network operators from other nefarious activity such as data exfiltration. These attacks typically will not exhaust network resources since the criminals still need access.

To read the full ERT Threat Alert, click here.

Botnets

Bot or Not? Distinguishing Between the Good, the Bad & the Ugly

January 8, 2019 — by Anna Convery-Pelletier0

bot_management-960x460.jpg

Bots touch virtually every part of our digital lives. They help populate our news feeds, tell us the weather, provide stock quotes, control our search rankings, and help us comparison shop. We use bots to book travel, for online customer support, and even to turn our lights on and off and unlock our doors.

Yet, for every ‘good’ bot, there is a nefarious one designed to disrupt, steal or manipulate. Indeed, at least one third of all Internet traffic is populated by a spectrum of ‘bad’ bots. On one end, there are the manipulative bots, like those designed to buy out retailers’ inventory to resell high-demand goods at markup (like limited edition sneakers or ticket scalping) or simulate advertiser click counts. On the other, more extreme end, malicious bots take over accounts, conduct API abuse and enslave our IoT devices to launch massive DDoS attacks.

Equally troubling is the speed at which the bot ecosystem is evolving. Like most criminal elements, threat actors are singularly focused in their goals: They constantly update, mutate, and modify their tool sets to work around the various protections companies put in place.

[You may also like: The Evolution of IoT Attacks]

In other words, what protected your organization against bots last year may not work today. Research from Radware’s 2018 State of Web Application Security Report shows that most organizations rely on tools like Captcha to detect their bot traffic, but modern, sophisticated bots can easily bypass those tools, making it difficult to even detect bot traffic, let alone identify the bot’s intentions.

Organizations need to look for bot management solutions that not only effectively detect and mitigate bot attacks but can also distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bots in real-time.

Yesterday, Radware announced its intent to acquire ShieldSquare, which is a pioneer in the bot mitigation industry and one of three recognized solution leaders by Forrester with strong differentiation in the Attack Detection, Threat Research, Reporting, and Analytics categories.

The strong technology synergy between the two companies around advanced machine learning and the opportunity to extend Radware’s existing cloud security services bring a tremendous advantage to our customers and partners.

[You may also like: 9 Ways to Ensure Cloud Security]

This acquisition allows Radware to expand our portfolio with more robust bot management solutions that can stand alone as product offerings as well as integrate into our suite of attack mitigation solutions. Radware will offer ShieldSquare’s bot management and mitigation product under the new Radware Bot Management product line. It enhances Radware’s advanced anti-bot capabilities from multi-protocol IoT DDoS attacks to more crafted e-commerce attacks affecting six emerging problems:

  • Data harvesting and Scraping Attacks
  • Account creation and Account Takeover Attacks
  • Denial of Inventory
  • Application DDoS & Brute Force Attacks
  • Brand Image / Reputation Attacks

It also provides ShieldSquare’s customers with access to the full suite of Radware security and availability solutions both on-prem and in the cloud, including our Cloud WAF services for comprehensive protection of applications.

We look forward to welcoming the ShieldSquare team into the Radware family and joining forces to offer some of the world’s best bot management solutions.

Read “Radware’s 2018 Web Application Security Report” to learn more.

Download Now

Attack Types & VectorsDDoSDDoS Attacks

2018 In Review: Memcache and Drupalgeddon

December 20, 2018 — by Daniel Smith1

AdobeStock_199421574-960x640.jpg

Attackers don’t just utilize old, unpatched vulnerabilities, they also exploit recent disclosures at impressive rates. This year we witnessed two worldwide events that highlight the evolution and speed with which attackers will weaponize a vulnerability: Memcache and Druppalgeddon.

Memcached DDoS Attacks

In late February, Radware’s Threat Detection Network signaled an increase in activity on UDP port 11211. At the same time, several organizations began alerting to the same trend of attackers abusing Memcached servers for amplified attacks. A Memcached amplified DDoS attack makes use of legitimate third-party Memcached servers to send spoofed attack traffic to a targeted victim. Memcached, like other UDP-based services (SSDP, DNS and NTP), are Internet servers that do not have native authentication and are therefore hijacked to launch amplified attacks against their victims. The Memcached protocol was never intended to be exposed to the Internet and thus did not have sufficient security controls in place. Because of this exposure, attackers are able to abuse Memcached UDP port 11211 for reflective, volumetric DDoS attacks.

On February 27, Memcached version 1.5.6 was released which noted that UDP port 11211 was exposed and fixed the issue by disabling the UDP protocol by default. The following day, before the update could be applied, attackers leveraged this new attack vector to launch the world’s largest DDoS attack, a title previously held by the Mirai botnet.

There were two main concerns with regards to the Memcached vulnerability. The first is centered around the number of exposed Memcached servers. With just under 100,000 servers and only a few thousand required to launch a 1Tbps attack, the cause for concern is great. Most organizations at this point are likely unaware that they have vulnerable Memcached servers exposed to the Internet and it takes time to block or filter this service. Memcached servers will be vulnerable for some time, allowing attackers to generate volumetric DDoS attacks with few resources.

[You may also like: Entering into the 1Tbps Era]

The second concern is the time it took attackers to begin exploiting this vulnerability. The spike in activity was known for several days prior to the patch and publication of the Memcached vulnerability. Within 24 hours of publication, an attacker was able to build an amplification list of vulnerable MMemcached servers and launch the massive attack.

Adding to this threat, Defcon.pro, a notorious stresser service, quickly incorporated Memcache into their premium offerings after the disclosure. Stresser services are normally quick to utilize the newest attack vector for many reasons. The first reason being publicity. Attackers looking to purchase DDoS-as-a-service will search for a platform offering the latest vectors. Including them in a service shows demand for the latest vectors. In addition, an operator might include the Memcache DDoS-as-a-service so they can provide their users with more power. A stresser service offering a Memcache DDoS-as-a-service will likely also attract more customers who are looking for volume and once again plays into marketing and availability.

[You may also like: The Rise of Booter and Stresser Services]

DDoS-as-a-service operators are running a business and are currently evolving at rapid rates to keep up with demand. Oftentimes, these operators are using the public attention created by news coverage similar to extortionists. Similarly, ransom denial-of-service (RDoS) operators are quick to threaten the use of new tools due to the risks they pose. DDoS-as-a-service will do the same, but once the threat is mitigated by security experts, cyber criminals will look for newer vectors to incorporate  into their latest toolkit or offerings.

This leads into the next example of Drupalgeddon campaign and how quickly hacktivists incorporated this attack vector into their toolkit for the purpose of spreading messages via defacements.

Drupalgeddon

In early 2018, Radware’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) was following AnonPlus Italia, an Anonymous-affiliated group that was engaged in digital protests throughout April and May. The group–involved in political hacktivism as they targeted the Italian government–executed numerous web defacements to protest war, religion, politics and financial power while spreading a message about their social network by abusing the content management systems (CMS).

On April 20, 2018 AnonPlus Italia began a new campaign and defaced two websites to advertise their website and IRC channel. Over the next six days, AnonPlus Italia would claim responsibility for defacing 21 websites, 20 of which used the popular open-source CMS Drupal.

[You may also like: Hacking Democracy: Vulnerable Voting Infrastructure and the Future of Election Security]

Prior to these attacks, on March 29, 2018, the Drupal security team released a patch for a critical remote code execution (RCE) against Drupal that allowed attackers to execute arbitrary code on unpatched servers as a result of an issue affecting multiple subsystems with default or common module configurations. Exploits for CVE-2018-7600 were posted to Github and Exploit-DB under the guise of education purposes only. The first PoC was posted to Exploit DB on April 13, 2018. On April 14, Legion B0mb3r, a member of the Bangladesh-based hacking group Err0r Squad, posted a video to YouTube demonstrating how to use this CVE-2018-7600 to deface an unpatched version of Drupal. A few days later, on April 17, a Metasploit module was also released to the public.

In May, AnonPlus Italia executed 27 more defacements, of which 19 were Drupal.

Content management systems like WordPress and Joomla are normally abused by Anonymous hacktivists to target other web servers. In this recent string of defacements, the group AnonPlus Italia is abusing misconfigured or unpatched CMS instances with remote code exploits, allowing them to upload shells and deface unmaintained websites for headline attention.

Read “Radware’s 2018 Web Application Security Report” to learn more.

Download Now

HacksSecurity

2018 In Review: Schools Under Attack

December 19, 2018 — by Daniel Smith0

education-under-attack-960x561.jpg

As adoption of education technologies expanded in 2018, school networks were increasingly targeted by ransomware, data theft and denial of service attacks; the FBI even issued an alert warning this September as schools reconvened after summer break.

Every school year, new students join schools’ networks, increasing its risk of exposure. Combined with the growing complexity of connected devices on a school’s network and the use of open-source learning management systems (like Blackboard and Moodle), points of failure multiply. While technology can be a wonderful learning aid and time saver for the education sector, an insecure, compromised network will create delays and incur costs that can negate the benefits of new digital services.

The Vulnerabilities

Some of the biggest adversaries facing school networks are students and the devices they bring onto campus. For example, students attending college typically bring a number of internet-connected devices with them, including personal computers, tablets, cell phones and gaming consoles, all of which connect to their school’s network and present a large range of potential vulnerabilities. What’s more, the activities that some students engage in, such as online gaming and posting and/or trolling on forums, can create additional cybersecurity risks.

In an education environment, attacks–which tend to spike at the beginning of every school year–range from flooding the network to stealing personal data, the effects of which can be long-lasting. Per the aforementioned FBI alert, cyber actors exploited school IT systems by hacking into multiple school district servers across the United States in late 2017, where they “accessed student contact information, education plans, homework assignments, medical records, and counselor reports, and then used that information to contact, extort, and threaten students with physical violence and release of their personal information.” Students have also been known to DoS networks to game their school’s registration system or attack web portals used to submit assignments in an attempt to buy more time.

[You may also like: So easy, a child can do it: 15% of Americans think a grade-schooler can hack a school]

Plus, there are countless IoT devices on any given school network just waiting for a curious student to poke. This year we saw the arrest and trial of Paras Jha, former Rutgers student and co-author of the IoT botnet Mirai, who did just that. Jha pleaded guilty to not only creating the malware, but also to click fraud and targeting Rutgers University with the handle ExFocus. This account harassed the school on multiple occasions and caused long and wide-spread outages via DDoS attacks from his botnet.

What’s more, some higher education networks are prime targets of nation states who are looking to exfiltrate personal identifiable data, research material or other crucial or intellectual property found on a college network.

Why Schools?

As it turns out, school networks are more vulnerable than most other types of organizations. On top of an increased surface attack area, schools are often faced with budgetary restraints preventing them from making necessary security upgrades.

[You may also like: School Networks Getting Hacked – Is it the Students’ Fault?]

Schools’ cybersecurity budgets are 50 percent lower than those in financial or government organizations, and 70 percent lower than in telecom and retail. Of course, that may be because schools estimate the cost of an attack at only $200,000–a fraction of the $500,000 expected by financial firms, $800,000 by retailers, and the $1 million price tag foreseen by health care, government, and tech organizations. But the relatively low estimated cost of an attack doesn’t mean attacks on school networks are any less disruptive. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of attacks against schools are from angry users, a percentage far higher than in other industries. Some 57 percent of schools are hit with malware, the same percentage are victims of social engineering, and 46 percent have experienced ransom attacks.

And yet, 44 percent of schools don’t have an emergency response plan. Hopefully 2019 will be the year schools change that.

Read “Radware’s 2018 Web Application Security Report” to learn more.

Download Now

BotnetsBrute Force AttacksDDoS AttacksPhishing

Top 6 Threat Discoveries of 2018

December 18, 2018 — by Radware1

AdobeStock_192801212-960x540.jpg

Over the course of 2018, Radware’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) identified several cyberattacks and security threats across the globe. Below is a round-up of our top discoveries from the past year. For more detailed information on each attack, please visit DDoS Warriors.

DemonBot

Radware’s Threat Research Center has been monitoring and tracking a malicious agent that is leveraging a Hadoop YARN (Yet-Another-Resource-Negotiator) unauthenticated remote command execution to infect Hadoop clusters with an unsophisticated new bot that identifies itself as DemonBot.

After a spike in requests for /ws/v1/cluster/apps/new-application appeared in our Threat Deception Network, DemonBot was identified and we have been tracking over 70 active exploit servers that are actively spreading DemonBot and are exploiting servers at an aggregated rate of over 1 million exploits per day.

[You may also like: IoT Botnets on the Rise]

Credential Stuffing Campaign

In October, Radware began tracking a credential stuffing campaign—a subset of Bruce Force attacks—targeting the financial industry in the United States and Europe.

This particular campaign is motivated by fraud. Criminals are using credentials from prior data breaches to gain access to users’ bank accounts. When significant breaches occur, the compromised emails and passwords are quickly leveraged by cybercriminals. Armed with tens of millions of credentials from recently breached websites, attackers will use these credentials, along with scripts and proxies, to distribute their attack against the financial institution to take over banking accounts. These login attempts can happen in such volumes that they resemble a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

DNS Hijacking Targets Brazilian Banks

This summer, Radware’s Threat Research Center identified a hijacking campaign aimed at Brazilian Bank customers through their IoT devices, attempting to gain their bank credentials.

The research center had been tracking malicious activity targeting DLink DSL modem routers in Brazil since early June. Through known old exploits dating from 2015, a malicious agent is attempting to modify the DNS server settings in the routers of Brazilian residents, redirecting all their DNS requests through a malicious DNS server. The malicious DNS server is hijacking requests for the hostname of Banco de Brasil (www.bb.com.br) and redirecting to a fake, cloned website hosted on the same malicious DNS server, which has no connection whatsoever to the legitimate Banco de Brasil website.

[You may also like: Financial Institutions Must Protect the Data Like They Protect the Money]

Nigelthorn Malware

In May, Radware’s cloud malware protection service detected a zero-day malware threat at one of its customers, a global manufacturing firm, by using machine-learning algorithms. This malware campaign is propagating via socially-engineered links on Facebook and is infecting users by abusing a Google Chrome extension (the ‘Nigelify’ application) that performs credential theft, cryptomining, click fraud and more.

Further investigation by Radware’s Threat Research group revealed that this group has been active since at least March 2018 and has already infected more than 100,000 users in over 100 countries.

[You may also like: The Origin of Ransomware and Its Impact on Businesses]

Stresspaint Malware Campaign

On April 12, 2018, Radware’s Threat Research group detected malicious activity via internal feeds of a group collecting user credentials and payment methods from Facebook users across the globe. The group manipulates victims via phishing emails to download a painting application called ‘Relieve Stress Paint.’ While benign in appearance, it runs a malware dubbed ‘Stresspaint’ in the background. Within a few days, the group had infected over 40,000 users, stealing tens of thousands Facebook user credentials/cookies.

DarkSky Botnet

In early 2018, Radware’s Threat Research group discovered a new botnet, dubbed DarkSky. DarkSky features several evasion mechanisms, a malware downloader and a variety of network- and application-layer DDoS attack vectors. This bot is now available for sale for less than $20 over the Darknet.

As published by its authors, this malware is capable of running under Windows XP/7/8/10, both x32 and x64 versions, and has anti-virtual machine capabilities to evade security controls such as a sandbox, thereby allowing it to only infect ‘real’ machines.

Read the “IoT Attack Handbook – A Field Guide to Understanding IoT Attacks from the Mirai Botnet and its Modern Variants” to learn more.

Download Now

Application DeliveryCloud Computing

Ensuring a Secure Cloud Journey in a World of Containers

December 11, 2018 — by Prakash Sinha1

Load-Balancer-960x541.jpg

As organizations transition to the cloud, many are adopting microservice architecture to implement business applications as a collection of loosely coupled services, in order to enable isolation, scale, and continuous delivery for complex applications. However, you have to balance the complexity that comes with such a distributed architecture with the application security and scale requirements, as well as time-to-market constraints.

Many application architects choose application containers as a tool of choice to implement the microservices architecture. Among its many advantages, such as resource footprint, instantiation time, and better resource utilization, containers provide a lightweight run time and a consistent environment for the application—from development to testing to a production deployment.

That said, adopting containers doesn’t remove the traditional security and application availability concerns; application vulnerabilities can still be exploited. Recent ransomware attacks highlight the need to secure against DDoS and application attacks.

[You may also like: DDoS Protection is the Foundation for Application, Site and Data Availability]

Security AND availability should be top-of-mind concerns in the move to adopt containers.

Let Your Load Balancer Do the Heavy Lifting

For many years, application delivery controllers (ADCs), a.k.a. load balancer, have been integral to addressing service-level needs for applications, deployed on premise or on the cloud, to meet availability and many of the security requirements of the applications.

Layered security is a MUST: In addition to using built-in tools for container security, traditional approaches to security are still relevant. Many container-deployed services are composed using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Since these services are accessible over the web, they are open to malicious attacks.

As hackers probe network and application vulnerability to gain access to sensitive data, the prevention of unauthorized access needs to be multi-pronged as well:

  • Preventing denial of service attacks
  • Routine vulnerability assessment scans on container applications
  • Scanning application source code for vulnerabilities and fixing them
  • Preventing malicious access by validate users before they can access a container application.
  • Preventing rogue application ports/applications from running
  • Securing the data at rest and in motion.

Since ADCs terminate user connections, scrubbing the data with a web application firewall (WAF) will help identify and prevent malicious attacks, while authenticating users against an identity management system to prevent unauthorized access to a container service.

Availability is not just a nice-to-have: A client interacting with a microservices-based application does not need to know about the instances that’s serving it. This is precisely the isolation and decoupling that a load balancer provides, thus ensuring availability in case one of the instances becomes unavailable.

Allocating and managing it manually is not an option:  Although there are many benefits to a container-based application, it is a challenge to quickly roll out, troubleshoot, and manage these microservices. Manually allocating resources for applications and re-configuring the load balancer to incorporate newly instantiated services is inefficient and error prone. It becomes problematic at scale, especially with those that have short lifetimes. Automating the deployment of services quickly becomes a necessity. Automation tools transform the traditional manual approach into simpler automated scripts and tasks that do not require deep familiarity or expertise.

[You may also like: Embarking on a Cloud Journey: Expect More from Your Load Balancer]

If you don’t monitor, you won’t know: When deploying microservices that may affect many applications, proactive monitoring, analytics and troubleshooting become critical before they become business disruptions. Monitoring may include information about a microservice such as latency, security issues, service uptime, and problems of access.

Businesses must support complex IT architectures for their application delivery in a secure manner. Configuring, deploying and maintaining cross-domain microservices can be error-prone, costly and time-consuming. Organizations should be concerned with ensuring security with a layered approach to security controls. To simplify configuration and management of these microservices, IT should adopt automation, visibility, analytics and orchestration best practices and tools that fit in with their agile and DevOps processes. The goal is to keep a secure and controlled environment mandated by IT without losing development agility and automation needs of the DevOps.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

Download Now

Application SecurityMobile DataMobile SecuritySecurity

Growing Your Business: Millennials and M-Commerce

December 6, 2018 — by Mike O'Malley1

mcommerce-960x640.jpg

Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force—a position they’ve held since 2016—and they’re involved in the majority (73%) of B2B purchasing decisions. Raised in the age of the Internet, they’re digital natives and easily adopt and adapt to new technologies. And mobile apps are their lifelines.

Why does this matter? Well, when you combine Millennials’ tech savviness with their business acumen, their clout in a digital economy comes into focus. As both decision-makers and connoisseurs of mobile technology, they can make or break you in a low-growth economy if your business model doesn’t square with their preferences.

In other words, if you’re not embracing mobile commerce, you may soon be ancient history. This generation has little-to-no use for brick-and-mortar storefronts, banks, etc., instead preferring to use apps for shopping, financial transactions and more.

Of course, making m-commerce a linchpin of your business model isn’t risk free; cybersecurity concerns are of critical importance. Increasingly, personal data protection is tied directly to consumer loyalty to a particular brand, and Millennials in particular care about how their data is used and safeguarded.

You Can’t Rush Greatness

While Millennials are renowned for an “I want it fast, and I want it now” attitude (which explains why 63% of them use their smartphone to shop every day, versus trekking to a store), the biggest mistake you can make is overlooking security in a rush to roll out a mobile strategy.

The fact is, vulnerabilities on m-commerce platforms can result in severe financial impacts; the average cost of a corporate data breach is $3.86 million. If a mobile app or mobile responsive e-commerce site is hit by an application attack, for example, short-term profit loss (which can escalate quickly) and longer-term reputation loss are serious risks. And as we move into 2019, there are several mobile security threats that we need to take seriously.

[You may also like: Are Your Applications Secure?]

Baking cybersecurity into your mobile strategy—as a core component, not an add-on—is, without question, necessary. The reason is manifold: For one thing, mobile devices (where your app primarily lives) are more susceptible to attacks. Secondly, mobile commerce websites are often implemented with a web application firewall to protect it.  Thirdly, Millennials’ reliance on m-commerce, both as B2B and B2C consumers, means you stand to lose significant business if your app or website go “down.” And finally, Millennials are security conscious.

Securing the Secure Customer Experience

So how can you help ensure your m-commerce platform, and thereby your Millennial customer base, is secure? A number of ways:

  • Guard your app’s code from the get-go. Test the code for vulnerabilities, ensure it’s easy to patch, and protect it with encryption.
  • Consider a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to secure your APIs and your website.
  • Run real-time threat analytics.
  • Be mindful of how customer data is stored and secured. (Don’t pull an Uber and store data unencrypted!)
  • Patch often. Because security threats evolve constantly, so must your security patches! Just ask Equifax about the importance of patching…

[You may also like: Growing Your Business: Security as an Expectation]

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of proactive security measures you can take, but it’s a good start. As I’ve said time and time again, in an increasingly insecure world where security and availability are the cornerstones of the digital consumer, cybersecurity should never be placed on the back burner of company priorities. Don’t wait for an attack to up your security game. At that point, trust is broken with your Millennial customer base and your business is in trouble. Be proactive. Always.

Read “Radware’s 2018 Web Application Security Report” to learn more.

Download Now

DDoSDDoS AttacksSecurityWAF

What Can We Learn About Cybersecurity from the Challenger Disaster? Everything.

December 5, 2018 — by Radware1

AdobeStock_115308434-960x640.jpg

Understanding the potential threats that your organization faces is an essential part of risk management in modern times. It involves forecasting and evaluating all the factors that impact risk. Processes, procedures and investments can all increase, minimize or even eliminate risk.

Another factor is the human element. Often times, within an organization, a culture exists in which reams of historical data tell one story, but management believes something entirely different. This “cognitive dissonance” can lead to an overemphasis and reliance on near-term data and/or experiences and a discounting of long-term statistical analysis.

Perhaps no better example of this exists than the space shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, which now serves as a case study in improperly managing risk. In January of that year, the Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after launch due to the failure of a gasket (called an O-ring) in one of the rocket boosters. While the physical cause of the disaster was caused by the failure of the O-ring, the resulting Rogers Commission that investigated the accident found that NASA had failed to correctly identify “flaws in management procedures and technical design that, if corrected, might have prevented the Challenger tragedy.”

Despite strong evidence dating back to 1977 that the O-ring was a flawed design that could fail under certain conditions/temperatures, neither NASA management nor the rocket manufacturer, Morton Thiokol, responded adequately to the danger posed by the deficient joint design. Rather than redesigning the joint, they came to define the problem as an “acceptable flight risk.” Over the course of 24 preceding successful space shuttle flights, a “safety culture” was established within NASA management that downplayed the technical risks associated with flying the space shuttle despite mountains of data, and warnings about the O-ring, provided by research and development (R & D) engineers.

As American physicist Richard Feynman said regarding the disaster, “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

Truer words have never been spoken when they pertain to cybersecurity. C-suite executives need to stop evaluating and implementing cybersecurity strategies and solutions that meet minimal compliance and establish a culture of “acceptable risk” and start managing to real-world risks — risks that are supported by hard data.

Risk Management and Cybersecurity

The threat of a cyberattack on your organization is no longer a question of if, but when, and C-suite executives know it. According to C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts, 96% of executives were concerned about network vulnerabilities and security risks resulting from hybrid computing environments. Managing risk requires organizations to plan for and swiftly respond to risks and potential risks as they arise. Cybersecurity is no exception. For any organization, risks can be classified into four basic categories:

The Challenger disaster underscores all four of these risk categories. Take strategic risk as an example. Engineers from Morton Thiokol expressed concerns and presented data regarding the performance of the O-rings, both in the years prior and days leading up to the launch, and stated the launch should be delayed. NASA, under pressure to launch the already delayed mission and emboldened by the 24 preceding successful shuttle flights that led them to discount the reality of failure, pressured Morton Thiokol to supply a different recommendation. Morton Thiokol management decided to place organizational goals ahead of safety concerns that were supported by hard data. The recommendation for the launch was given, resulting in one of the most catastrophic incidents in manned space exploration. Both Morton Thiokol and NASA made strategic decisions that placed the advancements of their respective organizations over the risks that were presented.

[You may also like: The Million-Dollar Question of Cyber-Risk: Invest Now or Pay Later?]

This example of strategic risk serves as a perfect analogy for organizations implementing cybersecurity strategies and solutions. There are countless examples of high-profile cyberattacks and data breaches in which upper management was warned in advance of network vulnerabilities, yet no actions were taken to prevent an impending disaster. The infamous 2018 Panera Bread data breach is one such example. Facebook is yet another. Its platform operations manager between 2011 and 2012 warned management at the social tech giant to implement audits or enforce other mechanisms to ensure user data extracted from the social network was not misused by third-party developers and/or systems. These warnings were apparently ignored.

So why does this continually occur? The implementation of DDoS and WAF mitigation solutions often involves three key components within an organization: management, the security team/SOC and compliance. Despite reams of hard data provided by a security team that an organization is either currently vulnerable or not prepared for the newest generation of attack vectors, management will often place overemphasis on near-term security results/experiences; they feel secure in the fact that the organization has never been the victim of a successful cyberattack to date. The aforementioned Facebook story is a perfect example: They allowed history to override hard data presented by a platform manager regarding new security risks.

Underscoring this “cognitive dissonance” is the compliance team, which often seeks to evaluate DDoS mitigation solutions based solely on checkbox functionality that fulfills minimal compliance standards. Alternatively, this strategy also drives a cost-savings approach that yields short-term financial savings within an organization that often times views cybersecurity as an afterthought vis-à-vis other strategic programs, such as mobility, IoT and cloud computing.

The end result? Organizations aren’t managing real-world risks, but rather are managing “yesterday’s” risks, thereby leaving themselves vulnerable to new attack vectors, IoT botnet vulnerabilities, cybercriminals and other threats that didn’t exist weeks or even days ago.

The True Cost of a Cyberattack

To understand just how detrimental this can be to the long-term success of an organization requires grasping the true cost of a cyberattack. Sadly, these data points are often as poorly understood, or dismissed, as the aforementioned statistics regarding vulnerability. The cost of a cyberattack can be mapped by the four risk categories:

  • Strategic Risk: Cyberattacks, on average, cost more than one million USD/EUR, according to 40% of executives. Five percent estimated this cost to be more than 25 million USD/EUR.
  • Reputation Risk: Customer attrition rates can increase by as much as 30% following a cyberattack. Moreover, organizations that lose over four percent of their customers following a data breach suffer an average total cost of $5.1 million. In addition, 41% of executives reported that customers have taken legal action against their companies following a data breach. The Yahoo and Equifax data breach lawsuits are two high-profile examples.
  • Product Risk: The IP Commission estimated that counterfeit goods, pirated software and stolen trade secrets cost the U.S. economy $600 billion annually.
  • Governance Risk: “Hidden” costs associated with a data breach include increased insurance premiums, lower credit ratings and devaluation of trade names. Equifax was devalued by $4 billion by Wall Street following the announcement of its data breach.

[You may also like: Understanding the Real Cost of a Cyber-Attack and Building a Cyber-Resilient Business]

Secure the Customer Experience, Manage Risk

It’s only by identifying the new risks that an organization faces each and every day and having a plan in place to minimize them that enables its executives to build a foundation upon which their company will succeed. In the case of the space shuttle program, mounds of data that clearly demonstrated an unacceptable flight risk were pushed aside by the need to meet operational goals. What lessons can be learned from that fateful day in January of 1986 and applied to cybersecurity? To start, the disaster highlights the five key steps of managing risks.

In the case of cybersecurity, this means that the executive leadership must weigh the opinions of its network security team, compliance team and upper management and use data to identify vulnerabilities and the requirements to successfully mitigate them. In the digital age, cybersecurity must be viewed as an ongoing strategic initiative and cannot be delegated solely to compliance. Leadership must fully weigh the potential cost of a cyberattack/data breach on the organization versus the resources required to implement the right security strategies and solutions. Lastly, when properly understood, risk can actually be turned into a competitive advantage. In the case of cybersecurity, it can be used as a competitive differentiator with consumers that demand fast network performance, responsive applications and a secure customer experience. This enables companies to target and retain customers by supplying a forward-looking security solution that seamlessly protects users today and into the future.

So how are executives expected to accomplish this while facing new security threats, tight budgets, a shortfall in cybersecurity professionals and the need to safeguard increasingly diversified infrastructures? The key is creating a secure climate for the business and its customers.

To create this climate, research shows that executives must be willing to accept new technologies, be openminded to new ideologies and embrace change, according to C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts. Executives committed to staying on top of this ever-evolving threat must break down the silos that exist in the organization to assess the dimensions of the risks across the enterprise and address these exposures holistically. Next is balancing the aforementioned investment versus risk equation. All executives will face tough choices when deciding where to invest resources to propel their companies forward. C-suite executives must leverage the aforementioned data points and carefully evaluate the risks associated with security vulnerabilities and the costs of implementing effective security solutions to avoid becoming the next high-profile data breach.

According to the same report, four in 10 respondents identified increasing infrastructure complexity, digital transformation plans, integration of artificial intelligence and migration to the cloud as events that put pressure on security planning and budget allocation.

The stakes are high. Security threats can seriously impact a company’s brand reputation, resulting in customer loss, reduced operational productivity and lawsuits. C-suite executives must heed the lessons of the space shuttle Challenger disaster: Stop evaluating and implementing cybersecurity strategies and solutions that meet minimal compliance and start managing to real-world risks by trusting data, pushing aside near-term experiences/“gut instincts” and understanding the true cost of a cyberattack. Those executives who are willing to embrace technology and change and prioritize cybersecurity will be the ones to win the trust and loyalty of the 21st-century consumer.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

Download Now