Cyber crime activity on the rise this year, warn experts

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on September 16, 2020 Published on September 16, 2020

Besides ransomware attacks, hands-on keyboard intrusions have also increased in the first half of 2020

A team of cyber security specialists at CrowdStrike have warned against increasing instances of e-crime.

According to the insights by CrowdStrike’s OverWatch team, detailed in the Falcon OverWatchTM 2020 Threat Hunting report, e-crime continues to increase in volume and reach.

“Sophisticated e-crime activity continues to outpace state-sponsored activity, an upward trend that OverWatch has witnessed over the past three years, “ the report read.

According to the report, e-crime accounted for over 80 per cent of all interactive intrusions. The can be attributed to successful targeted attacks by threat actors using ransomware and ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) models.

Apart from such ransomware attacks, hands-on keyboard intrusions have also increased in the first half of 2020.

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Covid impact

“This significant increase is driven primarily by the continued acceleration of e-crime activity but has also been impacted by the effects of the pandemic, which presented an expanded attack surface as organisations rapidly adopted remote workforces and created opportunities for adversaries to exploit public fear through Covid-19 themed social engineering strategies,” the report said.

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Sectors targeted

Though accounting for fewer cyber attacks than e-crime activities, state-backed attacks have also been consistent with a large number of attacks targeting the telecommunications industry.

“The telecommunications industry continues to be a popular target for the nation-states, specifically China. OverWatch observed six different China-based actors, whose motivations are likely associated with espionage and data theft objectives, conducting campaigns against telecommunications companies in the first half of the year,” the report said.

Overall, the manufacturing sector has been the most targeted industry in terms of cyber attacks.

As per the report, “there was a sharp escalation of activity in the manufacturing sector in the first half of 2020 in terms of both the quantity and sophistication of intrusions from both e-criminals and nation states.”

This was followed by healthcare and food and beverage.

Jennifer Ayers, vice-president of OverWatch and Security Response, said, “OverWatch threat hunting data demonstrates how adversaries are keenly attuned to their victim’s environment and ready to pivot to meet changing objectives or emerging opportunities. For this reason, organisations must implement a layered defence system that incorporates basic security hygiene, endpoint detection and response (EDR), expert threat hunting, strong passwords and employee education to properly defend their environments.”

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Published on September 16, 2020
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