Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘x-force

Batten Down The Hatches! IBM’s X-Force 2012 Trend And Risk Report

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It’s been a busy year for IT security incidents. Yesterday, John Markoff and Nicole Perlroth with The New York Times told us about yet another incident, this time a cyberattack involving antispam group Spamhaus and an anonymous group unhappy with their efforts.

Based on disclosed incident details such as the vulnerability used and attack type, IBM X-Force was able to determine that the majority of the security incidents disclosedin 2012 were carried out by the top left quadrant above, with attackers going after a broad target base while using off-the-shelf tools and techniques. This can be attributed to the wide public availability of toolkits, and to the large number of vulnerable web applications that exist on the Internet.

Click to enlarge. Based on disclosed incident details such as the vulnerability used and attack type, IBM X-Force was able to determine that the majority of the security incidents disclosed in 2012 were carried out by the top left quadrant above, with attackers going after a broad target base while using off-the-shelf tools and techniques. This can be attributed to the wide public availability of toolkits, and to the large number of vulnerable web applications that exist on the Internet.

But the list goes on and on. From the discovery of sophisticated toolkits with ominous names like Flame to cross-platform zero-day vulnerabilities, both consumers and corporations have been inundated with advisories and alerts regarding emerging threats. The frequency of data breaches and incidents—which had already hit a new high in 2011—continued their upward trajectory.

At the mid-year of 2012, IBM’s X-Force team predicted that the explosive nature of attacks and security breaches seen in the first half would continue. Indeed this was the case. While talk of sophisticated attacks and widespread distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attempts made the year’s headlines, a large percentage of breaches relied on tried and true techniques such as SQL injection.

What continues to be clear is that attackers, regardless of operational sophistication, will pursue a path-of-least-resistance approach to reach their objectives. Integration of mobile devices into the enterprise continues to be a challenge. In the previous report, X-Force looked at some of the pitfalls and perils of implementing BYOD programs without strict formulations of policy and governance to support the use of these devices.

That said, recent developments have indicated that while these dangers still exist, and X-Force believes mobile devices should be more secure than traditional user computing devices by 2014. While this prediction may seem far fetched on the surface, it is based on security control trends and requirements that are being driven into the market by knowledgeable security executives.

In its latest report, X-Force explores how security executives are advocating the separation of personas or roles on employee-owned devices. It also addresses some secure software mobile application development initiatives that are taking place today. The distribution and installation of malware on end-user systems has been greatly enabled by the use of Web browser exploit kits built specifically for this purpose.

The intense proliferation of social networking across the Internet poses new challenges to companies that need to control the sharing of confidential information. Any employee that has access to the Internet is going to be exposed to social networking sites and because they are so frequently accessed,they have become a favorite target of scam and phishing.

Click to enlarge. The intense proliferation of social networking across the Internet poses new challenges to companies that need to control the sharing of confidential information. Any employee that has access to the Internet is going to be exposed to social networking sites and because they are so frequently accessed,
they have become a favorite target of scam and phishing.

Exploit kits first began to appear in 2006 and are provided or sold by their authors to attackers that want to install malware on a large number of systems.  They continue to be popular because they provide attackers a turnkey solution for installing malware on end-user systems.

Java vulnerabilities have become a key target for exploit kits as attackers take advantage of three key elements: reliable exploitation, unsandboxed code execution, and cross-platform availability across multiple operating systems. Java exploits have become key targets in 2012 and IBM X-Force predicts this attack activity to continue into 2013.

As X-Force also reported in the mid-year, spam volume remained nearly flat in 2012, with India claiming the top country of origin for spam distribution, but the nature of spam is changing. Broadly targeted phishing scams, as well as more personalized spear-phishing efforts continue to fool end users with crafty social-engineering email messages that look like legitimate businesses. Also, fake banking alerts and package delivery service emails have been effective as attackers refine their messages to look like the authentic messages that customers might normally receive.

Whether the target is individuals or the enterprise, once again, X-Force reminds organizations that many breaches were a result of poorly applied security fundamentals and policies and could have been mitigated by putting some basic security hygiene into practice.

Web applications are still topping the chart of most disclosed vulnerabilities, rising 14% in 2012 over the 2011 end of year numbers. As reported earlier in the mid-year report, cross-site scripting (XSS) dominated the web vulnerability disclosures at 53% of all publicly released vulnerabilities. Although SQL injection attack methods remain as a top attack technique, the actual disclosures of new SQL injection vulnerabilities remain lower than the 2010 peak X-Force recorded.

Social media has dramatically changed our lives with new ways to connect, personally and professionally. From this constant availability of information about individuals, attackers can readily access data to use in their activities.

Now, more than ever, individual employees who share personal details in their social profiles can be targeted for attacks.

The values for the evaluated threat and residualthreat can be determined by comparing thelikelihood or frequency of a threat occurring (high,medium, low) against the damage impact that couldhappen if the threat occurred (catastrophic, high,medium, low). The goal is to implement mitigationprocesses that either reduce the frequency of thethreat occurring or reduce the impact if the threatdoes occur. A requirement for this to be successful is to have aspecific, designated monitoring mechanism to monitorthe implementation of the treatment processes andfor the appearance of the threats. This monitoringmechanism should be monitored and alerts should beresponded to. It does no good to have network-basedanti-virus consoles gathering information about virusalerts across the network, if nobody is assigned tomonitor the console and respond to those alerts.Monitoring and responding is part of the mitigationprocess. (An example threat assessment and riskmitigation process chart is provided below, thoughthe IR team may identify a greater list.)

Click to enlarge. The values for the evaluated threat and residual threat can be determined by comparing the likelihood or frequency of a threat occurring (high, medium, low) against the damage impact that could happen if the threat occurred (catastrophic, high, medium, low). The goal is to implement mitigation processes that either reduce the frequency of the threat occurring or reduce the impact if the threat does occur. A requirement for this to be successful is to have a specific, designated monitoring mechanism to monitor the implementation of the treatment processes and for the appearance of the threats.

2012 X-Force Trend And Risk Report Highlight

Malware and the malicious web

  • In 2012, near daily leaks of private information about victims were announced like game scoreboards through tweets and other social media. Personal details, such as email addresses, passwords (both encrypted and clear text), and even national ID numbers were put on public display.
  • Based on data for 2012, it is not surprising that the bulk of the security incidents disclosed were carried out with the majority of attackers going after a broad target base while using off-the-shelf tools and techniques. X-Force attributes this to the wide public availability of toolkits and to the large number of vulnerable web applications that exist on the Internet.
  • The year began and ended with a series of politically motivated, high-profile DDoS attacks against the banking industry. An interesting twist to the banking DDoS attacks was the implementation of botnets on compromised web servers residing in high bandwidth data centers. This technique assisted in much higher connected uptime as well as having more bandwidth than home PC’s to carry out the attacks. In the sampling of security incidents from 2012, the United States had the most breaches, at 46%. The United Kingdom was second at 8% of total incidents, with Australia and India tied for third at 3%.
  • IBM Managed Security Services (MSS) security incident trends are markers that represent the state of security across the globe. The relative volume of the various alerts can help to describe how attacks are established and launched. They also frequently provide hints about how methods have evolved. Based on this, the main focus in 2012 may have been the subversion of systems, with larger coordinated attacks being executed across fairly broad swaths of the Internet.
  • IBM MSS has noted a dramatic and sustained rise in SQL injection-based traffic due, in large part, to a consistent effort from the Asia Pacific region. The alerts came from all industry sectors, with a bias toward banking and finance targets.
  • Web browser exploit kits (also known as exploit packs) are built for one particular purpose: to install malware on end-user systems. In 2012 X-Force observed an upsurge in web browser exploit kit development and activity—the primary target of which are Java vulnerabilities—and X-Force supplies some strategies and tips to help protect against future attacks (see end of post to download full report).
  • Java continues to be a key target for attackers. It has the advantage of being both cross-browser and cross-platform—a rare combination that affords attackers a lot of value for their investment. Web content trends, spam, and phishing Web content trends Top used websites are readily deployed as IPv6- ready, although attackers do not yet seem to be targeting IPv6 on a large scale.
  • One third of all web access is done on websites which allow users to submit content such as web applications and social media.
  • Nearly 50% of the relevant websites now link to a social network platform, and this intense proliferation poses new challenges to companies that need to control the sharing of confidential information.

Spam and phishing

  • Spam volume remained nearly flat in 2012.
  • India remains the top country for distributing spam, sending out more than 20% of all spam in the autumn of 2012. Following India was the United States where more than 8% of all spam was generated in the second half of the year. Rounding out the top five spam sending countries of origin were Vietnam, Peru, and Spain.
  • At the end of 2012, IBM reports that traditional spam is on the retreat, while scam and spam containing malicious attachments is on the rise. In addition, attackers are demonstrating more resiliency to botnet take downs which results in an uninterrupted flow of spam volume.

Operational Security Practices

Vulnerabilities and exploitation

  • In 2012, there were over 8,168 publicly disclosed vulnerabilities. While not the record amount X-Force expected to see after reviewing its mid-year data, it still represents an increase of over 14% over 2011.
  • Web application vulnerabilities surged 14% from 2,921 vulnerabilities in 2011 to 3,551 vulnerabilities in 2012.
  • Cross-site scripting vulnerabilities accounted for over half of the total web application vulnerabilities disclosed in 2012. Cross-site scripting dominated the web vulnerability disclosures. Fifty-three percent of all publicly released web application vulnerabilities were cross-site scripting related. This is the highest rate X-Force has ever seen. This dramatic increase occurred while SQL injection vulnerabilities enjoyed a higher rate than 2011 but were still down significantly since 2010.
  • There were 3,436 public exploits in 2012. This is 42% of the total number of vulnerabilities, up 4% from 2011 levels.
  • Web browser vulnerabilities declined slightly for 2012, but not at as high a rate as document format issues. While the overall number of web browser vulnerabilities dropped by a nominal 6% from 2011, the number of high- and critical severity web browser vulnerabilities saw an increase of 59% for the year.
  • Few innovations have impacted the way the world communicates quite as much as social media. However, with the mass interconnection and constant availability of individuals, new vulnerabilities and a fundamental shift in intelligence-gathering capabilities has provided attackers and security professionals alike with information useful for enhancing their activities.
  • Rather than seeing a particular enterprise as an individual entity, attackers can view enterprises as a collection of personalities. This gives attackers the opportunity to target specific people rather than enterprise infrastructures or applications. Furthermore, targeted people may also be targeted as individuals and not just as employees. In other words, the personal activities and lives of employees can be leveraged to target an enterprise.

Emerging Trends In Security

Mobile

  • Prediction: Mobile computing devices should be more secure than traditional user computing devices by 2014. This is a bold prediction that IBM recently made as part of its look ahead in technology trends. While this prediction may seem far-fetched on the surface, it is based on security control trends and requirements that are being driven into the market by knowledgeable security executives.
  • Separation of personas or roles: While a small percentage of enterprises have dealt with BYOD by using virtualized desktop solutions to separate and control enterprise applications and data from the rest of the personally owned device, a greater number of enterprises have wanted or required some form of separation or dual persona on mobile devices. This difference in use or adoption could be the result of greater numbers of devices driving greater risk in the percentage of personally owned mobile devices versus personally owned PCs in a BYOD program.
  • In many cases, enterprises have made significant investments into implementing Secure Software Development Life Cycle (SSDLC) processes. Today’s mobile application development benefits from this. Tools exist to support secure development as part of the process instead of being conducted in qualification or production. As a result, it should be more common for enterprises to have more securely developed mobile applications than their existing legacy applications. Closure of vulnerabilities in some traditional computing applications may only conclude as existing versions are sunset and replaced with newer, more securely developed replacements.
  • Over 2012, it is safe to conclude that more enterprises are supporting BYOD or the use of personally owned devices than previously. In the last two years, IBM Security has spoken to hundreds of global 2000 customers and out of those interviewed, only three said they had no plans to implement any kind of BYOD program.

To learn more on how your organization can work to address these types of vulnerabilities, download the full IBM X-Force 2012 Trend And Risk Report here.

IBM Strengthens Measures For Mobile Workplace Security

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Guaranteed, if you asked any CIO or VP of IT what was one of their chief concerns as they think about enabling their enterprise to take better advantage of the opportunity that mobile computing presents, the subject of security would come up.

And I’ve got the data to prove it.  But I’m not going to bore you with the gory details just yet.  I want to instead turn to discussing some new solutions (we’ll come back to the data shortly).

Mobile Security By Design

Today, at the IBM Innovate event down in Orlando, Florida, IBM announced new software to help organizations develop mobile applications that are more secure by design.

Now, clients can build security into the initial design of their mobile applications so that vulnerabilities will be detected early in the development process.

Today’s announcement further expands IBM’s strategy to provide clients with a mobile platform that spans application development, integration, security and management.

With more than five billion mobile devices in the world — and only 2 billion computers — the shift to mobile devices as the primary form of connecting to corporate networks is increasing rapidly. Securing those devices is becoming a top priority for security executives and CIOs.

As companies embrace the growing “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) trend, the need to secure the applications that run on these devices is becoming more critical.

I said I’d returned to some data.  How about this: According to the 2011 IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report, mobile exploits increased by 19 percent in 2011. 

In addition, according to the recently released data from the IBM Center for Applied Insights study, 55 percent of respondents cited mobile security as a primary technology concern over the next two years.

The rapid consumerization of mobile endpoints, applications and services has created the urgent need to secure corporate applications on employees’ devices. 

With the latest release of the IBM Security AppScan portfolio, IBM now offers a robust application development security solution, allowing clients to integrate mobile application security testing throughout the application lifecycle.

“We are seeing increased demand from companies looking to extend their corporate applications to mobile devices,” said Stuart Dross, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Cigital, Inc. “The ability to scan native and hybrid mobile applications for security vulnerabilities is a major step forward in securing sensitive data and mitigating security risks.”

Security On the Go

Mobile applications represent a new threat target, since they carry a higher risk of attack compared to web application vulnerabilities.

Attackers are increasingly focusing on mobile applications because many organizations are not aware of the security risks introduced by the most basic mobile applications.

Beyond the traditional threats, for example, a hacker could perform a SQL injection or scripting attack on the applications. Mobile applications also come under attack from malware and phishing, or scanning QR codes with malicious scripts.

Additionally, mobile applications have vulnerabilities specific to mobile devices because they often store sensitive data that can be leaked to malicious applications. This data, once stored locally, typically is outside the protection of the corporate security programs.

The new AppScan analysis capabilities will find these vulnerabilities to help developers build more secure mobile applications.

Mobilizing the Workforce

With today’s announcement, IBM extends its market leading static application security testing to native Android applications, which allows clients to conduct their own testing for mobile applications.

In the past, for mobile application security testing to be done, clients would have to send their applications and software IP (Intellectual Property) to an offsite vendor to test for vulnerabilities. This approach doesn’t scale and the response time is too slow, as mobile applications undergo constant revisions and updates.

Organizations need to address mobile application security testing in-house early in the software development life cycle.

In addition to the mobile application testing capabilities, there are significant new capabilities from which customers can benefit:

  • Integration with IBM’s QRadar Security Intelligence Platform allows for increased security intelligence when an application is moved into production. By correlating known application vulnerabilities with user and network activity, QRadar can automatically raise or lower the priority score of
    security incidents.
  • A new Cross Site Scripting (XSS) analyzer which uses a learning mode to quickly evaluate millions of potential tests from less than 20 core tests. This new XSS analyzer finds more XSS vulnerabilities faster than any previous version of AppScan.
  • New static analysis capabilities help companies adopt broad application security practices through simplified on-boarding of applications and empowering non-security specialists to test faster than with prior releases.
  • Predefined and customizable templates that provide development teams the ability to quickly focus on a rule set prioritized by their security teams, helping corporations focus on key issues for them across their organization.

In addition to the QRadar integration, AppScan offers integration points with IBM Security Network IPS and IBM Security SiteProtector, and is a regular complement sold with IBM Guardium and IBM Security Access Management solutions for end-to-end application security.

The approach is to provide a comprehensive and integrated security framework for applications across the development and production lifecycle.

IBM has a broad portfolio of mobile security solutions, ranging from helping secure data on the device, to running safer mobile applications.

IBM has been steadily investing in the mobile space for more than a decade, both organically and through acquisitions, building a complete portfolio of software and services that delivers enterprise-ready mobility for clients.

IBM Security AppScan will be generally available this quarter.

Written by turbotodd

June 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Warning Against Your Insecurities: The 2011 IBM X-Force Trend And Risk “Poltergeist”

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WARNING: This is an exceptionally long post intended for security and privacy geeks everywhere, including sys admins, Internet security hawks, CIOs, and innocent but interested bystanders everywhere.  No web servers were hacked in the preparation of this report: at least, none by me!

Okay, troopers, it’s that time of year again.  You know, the time when IBM releases its report card for security incidents, the X-Force Trend and Risk Report.

Google has the search “Zeitgeist” every year, we have the security “poltergeist!”

This time around, we’re looking back at the wild and wacky 2011, a year which showed surprising improvements in several areas of Internet security. Improvements, you ask?  Surely you jest, Turbo.

This figure from the 2011 IBM X-Force Trend And Risk Report shows a steady decline in the instances of input control related vulnerabilities such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection since X-Force began recording these statistics in 2007. In 2011, the statistics suggest that the likelihood of encountering XSS in a given test continues to decrease but shows signs of leveling out at approximately a 40 percent chance of occurring. Injection vulnerabilities and specifically SQL injection appears to have leveled out at around a 20 percent chance of occurring in a given test.

No, no, there IS some good news.  Like a reduction in application security vulnerabilities, exploit code and spam.

But, good news leads to less good news on this front, as many of you who follow security well know, because the bad guys are being forced to rethink their tactics by targeting more niche IT loopholes and emerging technologies such as social networks and mobile devices.

The Top Line: Less Spam, More Adaptation

To get specific, the X-Force 2011 Trend and Risk Report demonstrated a 50 percent decline in spam email compared to 2010.

2011’s poltergeist saw a diligent patching of security vulnerabilities by software vendors, with only 36 percent of those vulnerabilities remaining unpatched in 2011 (compared to 43 percent in 2010).  The year also saw a higher quality of software application code, as seen in web-app vulnerabilities called “cross-site scripting” that were half as likely to exist in clients’ software as they were four years ago.

So, the net is, the bad guys are adapting their techniques to the changing tech environment. The report uncovered a rise in emerging attack trends including mobile exploits, automated password guessing, and a surge in phishing attacks.

It also witnessed an increase in automated shell command injection attacks against web servers, which may well be a response to successful efforts to close off other kinds of Web app vulnerabilities.

The Security Landscape Glass Half Full: Decrease In Unpatched Vulnerabilities, Exploit Code, And Spam

Getting even more specific, according to the report, there are several positive trends as companies adjusted their security policies in 2011:

  • Thirty percent decline in the availability of exploit code. When security vulnerabilities are disclosed, exploit code is sometimes released that attackers can download and use to break into computers. Approximately 30 percent fewer exploits were released in 2011 than were seen on average over the past four years. This improvement can be attributed to architectural and procedural changes made by software developers that help make it more difficult for attackers to successfully exploit vulnerabilities.
  • Decrease in unpatched security vulnerabilities. When security vulnerabilities are publicly disclosed, it is important that the responsible software vendor provide a patch or fix in a timely fashion. Some security vulnerabilities are never patched, but the percentage of unpatched vulnerabilities has been decreasing steadily over the past few years. In 2011 this number was down to 36 percent from 43 percent in 2010.
  • Fifty percent reduction in cross site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities due to improvements in software quality. The IBM X-Force team is seeing significant improvement in the quality of software produced by organizations that use tools like IBM AppScan OnDemand service to analyze, find, and fix vulnerabilities in their code.  IBM found XSS vulnerabilities are half as likely to exist in customers’ software as they were four years ago. However, XSS vulnerabilities still appear in about 40 percent of the applications IBM scans. This is still high for something well understood and able to be addressed.
  • Decline in spam. IBM’s global spam email monitoring network has seen about half the volume of spam email in 2011 that was seen in 2010. Some of this decline can be attributed to the take-down of several large spam botnets, which likely hindered spammers’ ability to send emails. The IBM X-Force team witnessed spam evolve through several generations over the past seven years as spam filtering technology has improved and spammers have adapted their techniques in order to successfully reach readers.

The Security Landscape Glass Half Empty: Attackers Adapt Their Techniques in 2011

Even with these improvements, there has been a rise in new attack trends and an array of significant, widely reported external network and security breaches.

This figure from the 2011 IBM X-Force Trend And Risk Report shows an increase in mobile operating system exploits in 2011 due to an uptick in malicious activity targeting mobile devices. Because of the two-tiered relationship between phone end users, telecommunications companies, and mobile operating system vendors, disclosed mobile vulnerabilities can remain unpatched on phones for an extended period of time, providing a large window of opportunity to attackers.

As malicious attackers become increasingly savvy, the IBM X-Force documented increases in three key areas of attack activity:

  • Attacks targeting shell command injection vulnerabilities more than double. For years, SQL injection attacks against web applications have been a popular vector for attackers of all types. SQL injection vulnerabilities allow an attacker to manipulate the database behind a website. As progress has been made to close those vulnerabilities – the number of SQL injection vulnerabilities in publicly maintained web applications dropped by 46 percent in 2011– some attackers have now started to target shell command injection vulnerabilities instead. These vulnerabilities allow the attacker to execute commands directly on a web server. Shell command injection attacks rose by two to three times over the course of 2011. Web application developers should pay close attention to this increasingly popular attack vector.
  • Spike in automated password guessing – Poor passwords and password policies have played a role in a number of high-profile breaches during 2011. There is also a lot of automated attack activity on the Internet in which attacks scan the net for systems with weak login passwords. IBM observed a large spike in this sort of password guessing activity directed at secure shell servers (SSH) in the later half of 2011.
  • Increase in phishing attacks that impersonate social networking sites and mail parcel services – The volume of email attributed to phishing was relatively small over the course of 2010 and the first half of 2011, but phishing came back with a vengeance in the second half, reaching volumes that haven’t been seen since 2008. Many of these emails impersonate popular social networking sites and mail parcel services, and entice victims to click on links to web pages that may try to infect their PCs with malware. Some of this activity can also be attributed to advertising click fraud, where spammers use misleading emails to drive traffic to retail websites.

Emerging Technologies Create New Avenues for Attacks

New technologies such as mobile and cloud computing continue to create challenges for enterprise security.

  • Publicly released mobile exploits rise 19 percent in 2011. This year’s IBM X-Force report focused on a number of emerging trends and best practices to manage the growing trend of “Bring your Own Device,” or BYOD, in the enterprise. IBM X-Force reported a 19 percent increase over the prior year in the number of exploits publicly released that can be used to target mobile devices. There are many mobile devices in consumers’ hands that have unpatched vulnerabilities to publicly released exploits, creating an opportunity for attackers. IT managers should be prepared to address this growing risk.
  • Attacks increasingly relate to social media – With the widespread adoption of social media platforms and social technologies, this area has become a target of attacker activity. IBM X-Force observed a surge in phishing emails impersonating social media sites. More sophisticated attackers have also taken notice. The amount of information people are offering in social networks about their personal and professional lives has begun to play a role in pre-attack intelligence gathering for the infiltration of public and private sector computing networks.
  • Cloud computing presents new challenges – Cloud computing is moving rapidly from emerging to mainstream technology, and rapid growth is anticipated through the end of 2013. In 2011, there were many high profile cloud breaches affecting well-known organizations and large populations of their customers. IT security staff should carefully consider which workloads are sent to third-party cloud providers and what should be kept in-house due to the sensitivity of data. Cloud security requires foresight on the part of the customer as well as flexibility and skills on the part of the cloud provider. The IBM X-Force report notes that the most effective means for managing security in the cloud may be through Service Level Agreements (SLAs) because of the limited impact that an organization can realistically exercise over the cloud computing service. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to ownership, access management, governance and termination when crafting SLAs. The IBM X-Force report encourages cloud customers to take a lifecycle view of the cloud deployment and fully consider the impact to their overall information security posture.

The IBM X-Force 2011 Trend and Risk Report is based on intelligence gathered by one of the industry’s leading security research teams through its research of public vulnerability disclosures findings from more than 4,000 clients, and the monitoring and analysis of an average of 13 billion events daily in 2011.

“In 2011, we’ve seen surprisingly good progress in the fight against attacks through the IT industry’s efforts to improve the quality of software,” said Tom Cross, manager of Threat Intelligence and Strategy for IBM X-Force. “In response, attackers continue to evolve their techniques to find new avenues into an organization. As long as attackers profit from cyber crime, organizations should remain diligent in prioritizing and addressing their vulnerabilities.”

You can learn more about IBM Security Solutions here.

Advancing Security Intelligence to Help Organizations Combat Increasing Threats

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If you’ve been curious as to what IBM has been up to on the security front, today’s a good day to check in.

The top global cyber security threats in 2011, according to a recent IBM analysis.

Earlier today, the Dow Jones AllThingsD blog had this post about some new capabilities IBM is announcing on the security front.

Today, IBM unveiled several new services planned for its security intelligence platform designed to combine deep analytics with real-time data feeds from hundreds of different sources to give organizations, for the first time, the ability to help proactively protect themselves from increasingly sophisticated and complex security threats and attacks using a single platform.

The Backdrop

Organizations today are struggling to defend themselves against an onslaught of ever-evolving data breaches, such as theft of customer and employee information, credit card data and corporate intellectual property.

To date, many corporations have been unable to create a security defense system because they have cobbled together technologies that don’t integrate in an intelligent and automated fashion.  This patchwork approach has created loopholes that hackers can exploit.

The QRadar Security Intelligence Platform, designed by Q1 Labs and acquired by IBM last fall, tackles this problem head-on by serving as a control center that integrates real-time security intelligence data to include more than 400 different sources.

Major breakthroughs planned in the security platform include:

  • Threat Intelligence – Intelligence from one of the world’s largest repository of threat and vulnerability insights is planned to be available based on the real-time monitoring of 13 billion security events per day from the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Feed. This insight can flag behavior that may be associated with Advanced Persistent Threats, which may emanate from teams of attackers accessing networks through stealth means.
  • Visibility into Enterprise Activity – The platform will unite events from IBM and non-IBM products that span four areas of organizational risk – infrastructure, people, applications and data.
  • Pinpoint Analysis in an Age of Big Data – The platform can drill down to basic data elements to help analyze issues emanating from network access information at the periphery to database activity at the core of a business.
Jack Danahy, Director of Advanced Security at IBM talks about security intelligence. For more information, please visit ibm.com/security.

New Integrations Bring Real-Time Security Analytics

With new integrations to be made available, the analytics platform can quickly identify abnormal activity by combining the contextual awareness of the latest threats and methods being used by hackers with real-time analysis of the traffic on the corporate IT infrastructure.

For example, the future integrations permit the platform to detect when multiple failed logins to a database server are followed by a successful login and access to credit card tables, followed by an upload to an unknown site.

“We chose the QRadar platform to build on and deliver our vision of a streamlined, highly intelligent platform to serve as our central nervous system for enterprise-wide monitoring,” said Ken Major, Information Security Officer at AmeriCU Credit Union. “It enables us to achieve our goals, industry best practices and regulatory compliance.”

Threat Intelligence

One of the significant planned integrations for the QRadar platform is IBM’s X-Force Intelligence Threat Feed based on the real-time monitoring of 13 billion security events per day, on average, for nearly 4,000 clients in more than 130 countries.

The QRadar platform will have visibility into the latest security trends worldwide to help protect enterprises against emerging risks. QRadar will present current IBM X-Force threat feeds in dashboard views for users, and correlate an organization’s security and network events with these threats and vulnerabilities in real-time using automated rules.

Broad Coverage

Other planned integrations to allow the QRadar Security Intelligence Platform to help clients more rapidly identify threats by connecting events from the following categories:

  • People: Organizations should control access to key systems and information. An employee’s unauthorized access to key databases and client information can leave a firm vulnerable to security breaches. With security intelligence, security teams can quickly determine whether access patterns exhibited by a given user are consistent with the user’s role and permissions within the organization. IBM Security Identity Manager and IBM Security Access Manager will integrate with the QRadar platform, complementing QRadar’s existing support for enterprise directories such as Microsoft Active Directory.
  • Data: Data is at the core of security; it is what’s behind every security measure in place, and is the primary target of cyber-criminals. With IBM Guardium Database Security integrated with the security intelligence platform, users will be able to better correlate unauthorized or suspicious activity at the database layer – such as a database administrator accessing credit card tables during off-hours – with anomalous activity detected at the network layer, such as credit card records being sent to unfamiliar servers on the Internet.
  • Applications: Applications are vital to day-to-day function but can also introduce new and serious vulnerabilities into company networks. Applications, because of their sensitivity, should be updated frequently. Organizations however are often unable to patch immediately due to corporate testing requirements and change control cycles. With security intelligence, companies will be able to automatically alert security teams to unpatched Web applications that risk being attacked by known application-layer exploits  that have previously been identified by IBM Security AppScan. This planned integration complements existing QRadar support for monitoring enterprise applications such as IBM WebSphere and SAP ERP.
  • Infrastructure: Today, organizations struggle to secure thousands of physical devices, such as PCs and mobile phones, especially as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) continues to grow in popularity. For this reason, companies should take extra precautions to help employees to follow secure practices in using these devices. With IBM Endpoint Manager integration, the security platform can provide organizations with enhanced protection of physical and virtual endpoints: servers, desktops, roaming laptops, smartphones and tablets, plus specialized equipment such as point-of-sale devices, ATMs and self-service kiosks.

QRadar integration modules are also planned for Symantec DLP, Websense Triton, Stonesoft Stonegate and other third-party products, increasing QRadar’s ecosystem and continuing Q1 Labs’ long-standing approach to multi-vendor heterogeneous environments.

Solutions to Analyze Big Data

In addition, the QRadar platform has been expanded with Big Data capabilities for storing and querying massive amounts of security information, and functionality for helping to secure virtualized infrastructures and providing a new level of visibility that helps clients reduce security risk and automate their compliance processes.

The expansion of security and network data sources is complemented by advanced functionality to help organizations keep pace with their exponential data growth. The new deliverables include:

  • Instant Search to provide high-speed, free-text querying of both log and flow data, designed to bring the simplicity and speed of Internet search engines to the security intelligence solution.
  • The XX24 appliance series to extend the scalability and performance advantages for which QRadar solutions are well known. With the release of the QRadar 3124 SIEM appliances, QRadar 1624 Event Processor and QRadar 1724 Flow Processor – which all include 16TB of usable storage and 64GB of RAM – organizations can support more users, achieve higher performance and store data longer.
  • Intelligent data policy management to enable users to designate which information they want to store and for how long. Less important data can be removed sooner to achieve longer retention for more important data.
  • Virtual appliances to allow end customers and service providers to capitalize on the virtual infrastructures they have built, while benefiting from lower-priced yet fully capable security intelligence solutions.

The planned integration modules (device support modules) are expected to be included with QRadar SIEM and QRadar Log Manager at no additional cost, via automatic updates.

Availability

The Big Data and virtual infrastructure enhancements are available now.  QRadar integration modules for IBM Guardium Database Security are planned to be available in 1Q2012.

Integration modules for IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence, IBM Security Identity Manager, IBM Security Access Manager, IBM Security AppScan and IBM Endpoint Manager are planned to be available in 2Q2012.

Visit Q1Labs’ site for more information.

IBM X-Force Trends Report: Year Of The Security Breach

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Attacker types and techniques in 1H2011 identified by the IBM X-Force Mid-Year Trend & Risk Report. The study revealed mobile security exploits would likely double in 2011.

Okay, it’s my last day in Bangalore.  At least for this particular journey.

I don’t have any more India-related news, except to report that the Kolkata Night Riders beat the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the CLT20 last night, here in Bangalore.

KKR won by nine wickets, and now I know why there were such sad faces in the stadium as I watched the end of the match late last night on TV.

As I was watching cricket, IBM was releasing the results of its “X-Force 2011 Mid-Year Trend and Risk Report,” a tiding I always attempt to cover in some depth, both because I find the reports fascinating and enlightening, and because I consider it a real service that IBM is providing to the global IT community.

Poised at the frontline of security, the IBM X-Force team serves as the eyes and ears for thousands of IBM clients – studying security attack techniques and creating defenses before many vulnerabilities are even announced.

The X-Force Mid-Year Trend and Risk Report is based on intelligence gathered through IBM’s research of public vulnerability disclosures as well as the monitoring and analysis of an average of 12 billion security events daily since the beginning of 2011.

Drumroll, Please: Moble Exploits Are Ripe For Exploitation!

The headline: This report demonstrates the rapidly changing security landscape characterized by high-profile attacks, growing mobile vulnerabilities and more sophisticated threats such as “whaling.”

Adoption of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets in the enterprise, including the “Bring Your Own Device” approach, which allows personal devices to access the corporate network, is raising new security concerns.

IBM X-Force has documented a steady rise in the disclosure of security vulnerabilities affecting these devices.  X-Force research recommends that IT teams consistently employ anti-malware and patch management software for phones in enterprise environments.

Click to enlarge. This graphic explores what the security situation might look like if it were run by the IBM X-Force team as they attempted to deal with this year's exploits.

Other key findings from the study:

  • Malicious software targeting mobile phones is often distributed through third-party app markets. Mobile phones are an increasingly attractive platform for malware developers as the sheer size of the user base is growing rapidly, and there is an easy way to monetize mobile phone infections. Malware distributors can set up premium texting (SMS messaging) services that charge users that text to a specific number. Malware then sends text messages to those premium numbers from infected phones.
  • Some mobile malware is designed to collect end user’s personal information. This data could then be used in phishing attacks or for identity theft. Mobile malware is often capable of spying on victim’s personal communications as well as monitoring and tracking their physical movements via the GPS capabilities common in these phones.

“For years, observers have been wondering when malware would become a real problem for the latest generation of mobile devices,” said Tom Cross, manager of Threat Intelligence and Strategy for IBM X-Force. “It appears that the wait is over.”

Critical Vulnerabilities Triple in 2011

The X-Force team also reports that the percentage of critical vulnerabilities has tripled thus far in 2011.

X-Force is declaring 2011 the “Year of the Security Breach” due to the large number of high-profile attacks and network compromises that have occurred this year.

This graphic explores the top website categories from the 1H2011 report containing at least one malicious link.

There is a cadre of notable emerging threats from this year’s breaches:

  • Teams of professional attackers motivated by a desire to collect strategic intelligence have been able to gain and maintain access to critical computer networks through a combination of stealth, sophisticated technical capabilities and careful planning. These attackers are often referred to as “Advanced Persistent Threats” (APTs).
  •  The success of APTs has raised the profile of “whaling,” a type of spear phishing which targets “big fish,” or those positioned in high levels of an organization with access to critical data. These targeted attacks are often launched after careful study of a person’s online profiles has armed an attacker with the information needed to create a compelling phishing email that the victim will be fooled into clicking on.
  • Attacks from ‘hacktivist’ groups, who targeted web sites and computer networks for political ends rather than just financial gain. Hacktivist groups have been successful in using well known, off-the-shelf attack techniques such as SQL Injection, which is one of the most common attack techniques seen in the Internet.
  • Anonymous proxies have more than quadrupled in number compared to three years earlier. Anonymous proxies are a critical type of website to track, because they allow people to hide potentially malicious intent.

Advances In Security

“The rash of high-profile breaches this year highlights the challenges organizations often face in executing their security strategy,” said Cross. “Although we understand how to defend against many of these attacks on a technical level, organizations don’t always have the cross-company operational practices in place to protect themselves.”

Although the X-Force team declared 2011 as a watershed in high-profile security breaches, the report also uncovered some improvements in areas of computer security that show headway in the fight against crime on the Internet.

  • The first half of 2011 saw an unexpected decrease in web application vulnerabilities, from 49 percent of all vulnerability disclosures down to 37 percent.  This is the first time in five years X-Force has seen a decrease.
  • High and critical vulnerabilities in web browsers were also at their lowest point since 2007, despite an increasingly complex browser market. These improvements in web browser and application security are important as many attacks are targeted against those categories of software
  • As major botnet operators are taken down and off-line by law enforcement officials, the report shows a trend in the decline of spam and more traditional phishing tactics.
  • After years of consistent spam growth until the middle of 2010, there has been a significant decline in spam volumes in the first half of this year.In the first half of 2011, the percentage of spam that is phishing on a weekly basis was less than 0.01 percent. Traditional phishing has greatly declined from the levels X-Force was seeing prior to the middle of 2010.

Also of note, the SQL Slammer Worm has been one of the most common sources of malicious packets on the Internet since its appearance and naming by the IBM X-Force team in 2003, but it has fallen down the list after a dramatic disappearance observed in March 2011.

The most recent analysis strongly suggested that the SQL Slammer Worm’s disappearance is due to an unknown source or actor. The analysis showed that a time-based trigger using a Slammer’s server clock was used to shut it down, proving that it was disabled by a single cause.

Traditional Vulnerabilities Still a Problem

The X-Force report uncovered numerous attacks that target traditional security vulnerabilities. According to the report, attacks on weak passwords are commonplace on the Internet, as are attacks that leverage SQL Injection vulnerabilities in web applications to compromise backend databases.

Databases have become an important target for attackers. Critical data used to run organizations — including financial/ERP, customer, employee, and intellectual property information such as new product designs — is stored in relational databases.

IBM researchers tested almost 700 web sites — from the Fortune 500 and other most popular sites — to uncover that 40 percent of these contain a class of security issues referred to as client-side JavaScript vulnerabilities. The existence of vulnerabilities like these in so many corporate web sites is indicative of the security blindspots in many organizations.

This graphic reveals insight into the exploit effort versus potential reward in the 1H 2011 X-Force report.

IBM Launches Institute for Advanced Security in Asia Pacific

To help combat security risks and to foster collaboration amongst security industry leaders, IBM is launching the IBM Institute for Advanced Security in Asia Pacific in order to combat growing security threats in the region.

The IBM Mid-Year X-Force report states that top countries originating spam have shifted to Asia Pacific, with India sending out roughly 10 percent of all spam registered today, and South Korea and Indonesia also making the top five list.

This Institute joins its predecessors in Brussels, Belgium and Washington, D.C., focused on European and U.S. clients respectively.

About the IBM X-Force Team and the Trend and Risk Report

This report comes from IBM’s X-Force team, the premier security research organization within IBM that has catalogued, analyzed and researched more than 50,000 vulnerability disclosures since 1997.

The IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report is an annual assessment of the security landscape, designed to help clients better understand the latest security risks, and stay ahead of these threats.

It is the result of the work done in IBM’s nine global Security Operations Centers, which is provided as a managed security service to clients.

The report gathers facts from numerous intelligence sources, including its database of computer security vulnerabilities, global web crawler, international spam collectors, and the real-time monitoring of an average of 12 billion security events every day for nearly 4,000 clients in more than 130 countries.

You can learn more about and download the report here.

Written by turbotodd

September 30, 2011 at 9:16 am

IBM’s 2010 X-Force Trend And Risk Report: Increasing Security Threats in Mobile, Cloud Computing

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Congrats to India on their Cricket World Cup victory over Sri Lanka.  You’ve had a whole long weekend to celebrate, so let’s get back to work, shall we?  : )

Because as it turns out, the most recent IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report (2010 edition) suggests there’s still plenty of work to do, at least on the IT security front.

The IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report is an annual assessment of the security landscape, designed to help clients better understand the latest security risks, and stay ahead of these threats.  The report gathers facts from numerous intelligence sources, including its database of over 50,000 computer security vulnerabilities, its global Web crawler and its international spam collectors, and the real-time monitoring of 13-billion security events every day for nearly 4,000 clients in more than 130 countries.

These 13-billion events monitored each day – more than 150,000 per second – are a result of the work done in IBM’s nine, global Security Operations Centers (SOC), which is provided as a Managed Security Service to clients.

IBM X-Force’s Tom Cross explains the most recent results of IBM’s global security study. High on this past year’s list of security concerns: Cloud computing and mobile devices (including the exposure presented by smartphones).

150,000 Security Threats Per Second

Based on the intelligence gathered through research of public vulnerability disclosures, and the monitoring and analysis of more than 150K security events per second during every day of 2010, here are the headlines from the latest X-Force report:

  • More than 8,000 new vulnerabilities were documented, a 27 percent rise from 2009. Public exploit releases were also up 21 percent from 2009 to 2010. This data points to an expanding threat landscape in which sophisticated attacks are being launched against increasingly complex computing environments.
  • Spam volume leveled off by the end of 2010 (as compared to its historically high growth rate). This indicates that spammers may be seeing less value from increasing the volume of spam, and instead are focusing on making sure it is bypassing filters.
  • “Spear phishing,” a more targeted attack technique, was on the rise in 2010, even though there were significantly fewer phishing attacks relative to previous years. This suggests that cyber crooks are focusing more on quality of attacks, rather than just quantity.
  • End user adoption of smartphones and other mobile devices demonstrated a rise in vulnerability disclosures and exploits that target these devices.  IT security departments, of course, have been struggling to determine the right way to bring these devices safely into corporate networks.

Vulnerability Disclosures Growth by Year

IBM documented more than 8,000 new vulnerabilities, a 27 percent rise from 2009. Public exploit releases were also up 21 percent from 2009 to 2010. This data points to an expanding threat landscape in which sophisticated attacks are being launched against increasingly complex computing environments.

In conjunction with this year’s report, IBM is launching the IBM Institute for Advanced Security in Europe to combat growing security threats in the region.  The IBM X-Force report stated that in 2010, nearly a quarter of all financial phishing emails targeted banks located in Europe.  It also identified the UK, Germany, Ukraine and Romania among the top 10 countries sending spam in 2010.

This Institute joins its predecessor in Washington, D.C., focused on U.S. clients.

Emerging Security Threats In Cloud Computing, Mobile

A new section in the IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report is dedicated to the security trends and best practices for the emerging technologies of mobile devices and cloud computing. The report highlighted a shift in perception about cloud security as adoption continued to evolve and knowledge around this emerging technology increased.  Since security is still considered an inhibitor to cloud adoption, cloud providers must earn their customers’ trust.

Organizations are also increasingly concerned about the security implications of personal mobile devices used by employees. Organizations must ensure control of their data regardless of where it is, including employee-owned or business-issued smartphones.

In 2010, IBM X-Force documented increases in the volume of vulnerabilities disclosed in mobile devices as well as the disclosure of exploits that target them.  The desire to “jailbreak” or “root” mobile devices has motivated the distribution of mature exploit code that has been reused in malicious attacks.

Nevertheless, malware is not yet common on the latest generation of mobile devices and most IT professionals view the data stored on them and how that can be misused or lost as the main security threats associated with these devices. According to the IBM X-Force Report, best practices for mobile security are evolving with enhanced password management and data encryption capabilities.

Additional trends highlighted in the report included:

  • The new, sophisticated face of cyber crime — From a security standpoint, 2010 is most remembered as a year marked by some of the most high profile, targeted attacks that the industry has ever witnessed. For example, the Stuxnet worm demonstrated that the risk of attacks against highly specialized industrial control systems is not just theoretical. These types of attacks are indicative of the high level of organization and funding behind computer espionage and sabotage that continues to threaten a widening variety of public and private networks.
  • Web applications accounted for nearly half of vulnerabilities disclosed in 2010 — Web applications continued to be the category of software affected by the largest number of vulnerability disclosures, representing 49 percent in 2010.  The majority represented cross site scripting and SQL injection issues, and the IBM X-Force data showed that these vulnerabilities are being targeted by attackers.  According to the report results, every summer for the past three years there has been a globally scaled SQL injection attack some time during the months of May through August. The anatomy of these attacks has been similar across the board, targeting .asp pages that are vulnerable to SQL injection.
  • A secure by design approach can improve security — IBM X-Force has determined that taking proactive steps to evaluate web application security and improve development and quality assurance processes can result in a significant improvement in the security of web application software. The report included data showing that web applications scanned for vulnerabilities often showed significant improvements upon being retested – exhibiting less than half of the number of particular classes of vulnerabilities, on average, the second time they are assessed. This encouraging information points the way toward sustained improvements in Internet security.
  • Nearly half of vulnerabilities remain unpatched — To help prevent attackers from exploiting vulnerabilities, organizations must focus on shortening the window of time between vulnerability disclosure and patch installation. Forty-four percent of all security vulnerabilities had no vendor-supplied patch at the end of 2010. However, even in cases where patches are made available on the same day that a vulnerability is publicly disclosed, there may be a significant gap in time before those patches are installed on vulnerable systems. Computer criminals often privately develop exploits that target publicly disclosed security vulnerabilities, and use those exploits to launch attacks. Later, when these private exploits have ceased to be valuable as attack tools, they are publicly disclosed. The IBM X-Force report data showed that exploits are often publicly disclosed tens or hundreds of days after the vulnerabilities they target. If it is taking a long time for these exploits to surface, it may be taking a long time for networks to patch.
  • Continued growth of Internet botnets — IBM X-Force saw an upward trend in Trojan botnet activity during 2010. This growth is significant because despite increasing coordinated efforts to shut down botnet activity, this threat appeared to be gaining momentum. However, IBM X-Force’s data did illustrate the dramatic impact of a successful effort in early 2010 to shutdown the Waledac botnet, which resulted in an instantaneous drop off in observed command and control traffic. On the other hand, the Zeus botnet continued to evolve and constituted a significant portion of the botnet activity detected by IBM X-Force in 2010. Due to its extreme popularity with attackers, there are hundreds, or even thousands, of separate Zeus botnets active at any given time. The Zeus botnet malware is commonly used by attackers to steal banking information from infected computers.

To help address these challenge IBM now has nine worldwide research labs innovating security technology and nine security operations centers around the world. These are designed to help global clients maintain the appropriate security posture.

Click here to access the 2010 IBM X-Force Trend and Risk report.

You can find more information on IBM Security Solutions at www.ibm.com/security.

Written by turbotodd

April 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm

IBM X-Force Mid-Year Risk and Trend Report

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Now, don’t let me freak you out with this news or anything.

Especially just as the Pentagon confirmed with the New York Times “the most significant breach of U.S. military computers ever” back in 2008, in which a foreign intelligence agent used a flash drive to infect computers for Central Command, which was overseeing combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But today IBM just released the results of its X-Force 2010 Mid-Year Trend and Risk Report, which showed that security vulnerability disclosures are increasing dramatically, having reached record levels for the first half of 2010.

Specifically, 4,396 new vulnerability were documented by the X-Force R&D team in the first half of 2010, a 36% increase over the same time period last year.

Over half, 55 percent, of all these disclosed vulnerabilities had no vendor-supplied patch at the end of the period.

The report also indicated that Web application vulnerabilities continued to be the leading threat, accounting for more than half of all public disclosures.  And that covert attacks had increased in complexity, often getting hidden within Javascript and PDF formats.

Cloud computing and virtualization were noted as key future security topics for enterprise organizations.

Before you IT administrators rush to find a tall building to jump off of, here’s the glass half full news: In the first-half of 2010, organizations were doing more to identify and disclose security vulnerabilities than ever before.

This in turn is having positive effects on the industry by driving more open collaboration to identify and eliminate vulnerabilities before cyber criminals can exploit them.

Tom Cross, the manager of the IBM X-Force team, provides some background on the methodology and findings of 1H report in this video:

Now, some details from on the trends being seen in the 1H10 report:

  • Web application vulnerabilities continue to be the largest category of vulnerability disclosures. — Web application vulnerabilities have surpassed all other threats to account for 55 percent of all disclosures.  While Web application vulnerabilities continue to climb at a steady rate, these figures may only represent the tip of the iceberg of total Web application vulnerabilities that exist, as they do not include custom-developed Web applications which can also introduce vulnerabilities.
  • Covert, hidden attack methods grew in frequency and complexity, especially involving JavaScript — Enterprises are fighting increasingly sophisticated attacks on their computer networks, including Advanced Persistent Threats. These sophisticated attackers are employing covert means to break into networks without being detected by traditional security tools. JavaScript obfuscation is a particularly popular technique used by all classes of computer criminals to hide their exploits within document files and Web pages. IBM detected a 52 percent increase in obfuscated attacks during the first half of 2010 versus the same period in 2009.
  • PDF exploits continue to soar as attackers trick users in new ways — X-Force started observing widespread use of PDF-based exploits during the first half of 2009. Since then, it has captured three of the top five slots for browser exploits used in the wild. The most significant jump associated with PDF attacks in 2010 occurred in April, when IBM Managed Security Services detected almost 37 percent more attack activity than the average for the first half of 2010. This spike coincided with a widespread spam campaign in which malicious PDF attachments were used to spread the Zeus and Pushdo botnets, some of the most insidious threats on the Internet today.
  • Phishing activity declined significantly, but financial institutions remain the top target. Phishing volume has fluctuated wildly over the past few years. The first half of 2010 has only seen a fraction of the phishing attacks that were seen at the peak in 2009, a decline of almost 82 percent. Despite this drastic decline, financial institutions are still the number one phishing target, representing about 49 percent of all phishing emails, while credit cards, governmental organizations, online payment institutions and auctions represent the majority of other targets.

“Threat dynamics continue to multiply and evolve at a furious pace, making it more crucial than ever to look at unfolding trends so we can better prepare our clients for the future,” said Steve Robinson, general manager, IBM Security Solutions.

“This year’s X-Force report reveals that although threats are on the rise, the industry as a whole is getting much more vigilant about reporting vulnerabilities. This underscores the increased focus among our clients to continue looking for security solutions that help them better manage risk and ensure their IT infrastructure is secure by design.”

Looking ahead, the X-Force Research and Development team has identified some key trends to watch for in the future, including:

  • Cloud Computing — As an emerging technology, security concerns remain a hurdle for organizations looking to adopt cloud computing. As organizations transition to the cloud, IBM recommends that they start by examining the security requirements of the workloads they intend to host in the cloud, rather than starting with an examination of different potential service providers. Gaining a good understanding of the needs and requirements first will help organizations take a more strategic approach to adopting cloud services.
  • Virtualization — As organizations push workloads into virtual server infrastructures to take advantage of ever increasing CPU performance, questions have been raised about the wisdom of sharing workloads with different security requirements on the same physical hardware. X-Force’s vulnerability data shows that 35 percent of vulnerabilities impacting server class virtualization systems affect the hypervisor, which means that an attacker with control of one virtual system may be able to manipulate other systems on the same machine. This is a significant data point when architecting virtualization projects.

This report comes from IBM’s X-Force team, the premier security research organization within IBM that has catalogued, analyzed and researched more than 50,000 vulnerability disclosures since 1997.

The IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report gathers facts from numerous intelligence sources, including its database of over 50,000 computer security vulnerabilities, millions of intrusion events monitored on tens of thousands of managed network sensors deployed on customer networks throughout the world, its global Web crawler and its international spam collectors.

This mid-year report is designed to help customers stay ahead of threats.

IBM Security Solutions include an extensive portfolio of hardware, software solutions, professional and managed services offerings covering the spectrum of IT and business security risks, including: people and identity, data and information, application and process, network, server and endpoint and physical infrastructure. IBM Security Solutions empowers clients to innovate and operate their businesses on highly secure infrastructure platforms.

To access the report, visit: www.ibm.com/security/x-force. For more information on IBM Security Solutions, visit: www.ibm.com/security.

Written by turbotodd

August 25, 2010 at 9:12 pm

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