FortiGuard Labs threat intelligencefrom the first half of 2020 demonstrates the dramatic scale at which cybercriminals and nation-state actors leveraged a global pandemic as an opportunity to implement a variety of cyberattacks around the world. The adaptability of adversaries enabled waves of attacks targeting the fear and uncertainty in current events as well as the sudden abundance of remote workers outside the corporate network, which quickly expanded the digital attack surface overnight.
Although many compelling threat trends were related to the pandemic, some threats still had their own drivers. For example, ransomware and attacks targeting Internet-of-Things (IoT) devicesas well as operational technology (OT) are not diminishing, but are instead evolving to become more targeted and more sophisticated.
At a global level, the majority of threats are seen worldwide and across industries, with some regional or vertical variation. Similar to the COVID-19 pandemic, a certain threat might have started in one area but eventually spreads almost everywhere, meaning most organizations could face the threat. There are of courseregional differences in infection rates based on factors such as policies, practices, or response.
For a detailed view of the report, as well as some important takeaways, read the blog. Highlights of the report follow.
Seizing the Opportunity in Global Events: Attackers have used subjects in the news as social engineering lures before, but this moved to the next level in the first half of 2020.
The Perimeter Gets More Personal: The increase in remote work created a dramatic inverse of corporate networks almost overnight, which cyber adversaries immediately started to leverage as an opportunity.
Browsers Are Targets Too: For attackers the shift to remote work was an unprecedented opportunity to target unsuspecting individuals in multiple ways.
Ransomware Not Running Away: Well-known threats such as ransomware have not diminished during the last six months.
OT Threats After Stuxnet: June marked the 10th anniversary of Stuxnet, which was instrumental in the evolution of threats to, and security of, operational technology.
Mapping Exploitation Trends: A review of the CVE List shows the number of published vulnerabilities added has risen over the last few years, sparking discussion over the prioritization of patching.
The Urgency to Secure the Network Perimeter Extending Into the Home: With the increase in connectivity, devices, and ongoing need for remote work, the digital attack surface is expanding. With the corporate network perimeter extending to the home, attackers are looking for the weakest link and fresh attack opportunities.
Michael Joseph, Director System Engineering, India & SAARC, Fortinet, said, “The first six months of 2020 witnessed an unprecedented cyberthreat landscape. The dramatic scale and rapid evolution of attack methods demonstrate the nimbleness of adversaries to quickly shift their strategies to maximize the current events centered around the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe.”