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Cybercriminals evolving, more dangerous than ever: report

Annual security report by Arbor Networks identifies key threats as orgs scramble to protect themselves

Cybercriminals evolving, more dangerous than ever: report
Samy warns cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated and require intelligent DDoS mitigation techniques.

A relentless global threat environment is driving demand for managed security services and incident response support, a new report by Arbor Networks says.

The 11th Annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report (WISR) by Arbor Networks, the security division of NETSCOUT, offers insights from the global operational security community on a range of issues from threat detection and incident response to staffing, budgets and partner relationships.

For the first time, nearly half of the respondents were from enterprise, government and educational organizations, with service providers at 52 percent.

“Every day, businesses, service providers and governments are targeted by DDoS attacks and advanced threats across the region. With the raise of IoT trend in the Middle East these attacks become even bigger threat to all types of networks. Cyber threats become more and more sophisticated and require intelligent DDoS mitigation techniques that are constantly updated and improved,” said Mahmoud Samy, regional director - High Growth Markets (Russia/CIS & Middle East) at Arbor Networks.

“With increasing cyber threat landscape in the region and worldwide, the best solution is an appropriate preparedness. Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report shows that 57 percent of enterprises are looking to deploy solutions to speed incident response processes. Loss of personal information and disruption of business processes are perceived as the top business risks from an advanced threat,” he adds.

The report identifies the top 5 DDoS trends in the last 12 months including,  

Change in attack motivation: This year the top motivation was not hacktivism or vandalism but ‘criminals demonstrating attack capabilities,’ something typically associated with cyber extortion attempts.

Attack size continues to grow: The largest attack reported was 500 Gbps, with others reporting attacks of 450 Gbps, 425 Gbps and 337 Gbps. In 11 years of this survey, the largest attack size has grown more than 60X.

Complex attacks on the Rise: 56 percent of respondents reported multi-vector attacks that targeted infrastructure, applications and services simultaneously, up from 42 percent last year. 93 percent reported application-layer DDoS attacks. The most common service targeted by application-layer attacks is now DNS (rather than HTTP).

Cloud under attack: Two years ago, 19 percent of respondents saw attacks targeting their cloud-based services. This grew to 29 percent last year, and now to 33 percent this year – a clear upward trend. In fact, 51 percent of data centre operators saw DDoS attacks saturate their Internet connectivity. There was also a sharp increase in data centres seeing outbound attacks from servers within their networks, up to 34 percent from 24 percent last year.

Firewalls continue to fail during DDoS attacks: More than half of enterprise respondents reported a firewall failure as a result of a DDoS attack, up from one-third a year earlier. As stateful and inline devices, firewalls add to the attack surface and are prone to becoming the first victims of DDoS attacks as their capacity to track connections is exhausted. Because they are inline, they can also add network latency.

The top five advanced threat trend, according to WISR, include,

Focus on better response: 57 percent of enterprises are looking to deploy solutions to speed the incident response processes. Among service providers, one-third reduced the time taken to discover an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) in their network to under one week, and 52 percent stated their discovery to containment time has dropped to under one month.

Better planning: 2015 saw an increase in the proportion of enterprise respondents who had developed formal incident response plans, and dedicated at least some resources to respond to such incidents, up from around two-thirds last year to 75 percent this year.

Insiders in focus: The proportion of enterprise respondents seeing malicious insiders is up to 17 percent this year (12 percent last year). Nearly 40 percent of all enterprise respondents still do not have tools deployed to monitor BYOD devices on the network. The proportion reporting security incidents relating to BYOD doubled, to 13 percent from six percent last year.

Staffing quagmire: There has been a significant drop in those looking to increase their internal resources to improve incident preparedness and response, down from 46 to 38 percent in this year’s results.

Increasing reliance on outside support: Lack of internal resources this past year has led to an increase in the use of managed services and outsourced support, with 50 percent of enterprises having contracted an external organization for incident response. This is 10 percent higher than within service providers. Within service providers, 74 percent reported seeing more demand from customers for managed services.

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