Five Ways Cyber Attackers Are Changing Their Tactics

December 3, 2015


If there is one thing that can be said about the cyber risk landscape, and Internet security as a whole, it is that the only constant is change. This is evident looking at 2014 – a year characterized by far-reaching vulnerabilities (e.g. Heartbleed), faster attacks, more files held for ransom, and far more malicious code than in previous years.[i]

Despite 2013 being a huge year for breaches (Target, JP Morgan Chase, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Facebook, to name a few of the 619 known U.S. breaches[ii]), the number of security breaches rose 23 percent in 2014 in which over 1 billion records were compromised.[iii]

Cisco® has released its Annual Security Report for 2015. Among the report's content, it addresses the 5 ways cyber attackers continue to succeed even while individuals and organizations are adopting more sophisticated tools for preventing attacks and enhancing their cybersecurity defenses.

  1. They change their tactics and tools from moment to moment, disappearing from a network before they can be stopped, or quickly choose a different method to gain entry.
  2. They devise spam campaigns using hundreds of IP addresses in an attempt to bypass IP-based anti-spam reputation products.
  3. They design malware that relies on tools that users trust, or view as benign, to persistently infect and hide in plain sight on their machines.
  4. They find new vulnerabilities to exploit if vendors shut down weaknesses in other products.
  5. They work at establishing a hidden presence or blend in with the targeted organization, sometimes taking weeks or months to establish multiple footholds in infrastructure and user databases. Only when they are ready will they execute their core mission.

According to Cisco, security is a numbers game. Even if an organization blocks 99.99 percent of billions of spam messages, some will make it through. There is no way to ensure 100 percent effectiveness.

For the complete Cisco 2015 Annual Security Report, visit here (registration required).

For additional information on cyber security and to learn how PURE can help you manage your cyber risk, visit our Cyber Knowledge Center.