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HPE: iPhone, Android Cyberattacks Increasing

Smartphone virus 1

Edward GatelyCyberattackers have shifted focus to target applications directly, while ransomware attacks targeting enterprises and individuals are on the rise.

That’s according to Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s (HPE) Cyber Risk Report 2016, which examines the 2015 threat landscape and provides information around key areas of risk, including app vulnerabilities, security patching and the growing monetization of malware.

“In 2015, we saw attackers infiltrate networks at an alarming rate, leading to some of the largest data breaches to date, but now is not the time to take the foot off the gas and put the enterprise on lockdown,” said Sue Barsamian, senior vice president and general manager of HPE Security Products. “We must learn from these incidents, understand and monitor the risk environment, and build security into the fabric of the organization to better mitigate known and unknown threats, which will enable companies to fearlessly innovate and accelerate business growth.”

HPE's Sue BarsamianWhile Web apps pose significant risk to enterprises, mobile apps present growing and distinctive ones, according to the report. Mobile apps’ frequent use of personally identifiable information presents “significant vulnerabilities” in the storage and transmission of private and sensitive information.

Some 75 percent of mobile apps scanned exhibited at least one critical or high-severity security vulnerability, compared to 35 percent of non-mobile apps.

Security professionals must adjust their approach accordingly, defending not just the edge but the interactions between users, apps and data regardless of location or device, according to HPE.{ad}

“Security practitioners from enterprises of all sizes must embrace the rapid transformation of IT,” Barsamian said. “They must ready themselves for both new regulations and increasingly complex attacks.”

Software vulnerability exploitation continues to be a primary target for attack, with mobile exploits gaining traction. Similar to 2014, the top 10 vulnerabilities exploited in 2015 were more than a year old, with 68 percent being three or more years old.

In 2015, Microsoft Windows represented the most targeted software platform, with 42 percent of the top 20 discovered exploits directed at Microsoft platforms and apps, according to the report. Also, 29 percent of all successful exploits in 2015 continued to use …

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… a 2010 Stuxnet infection vector that has been patched twice.

Security teams must be more vigilant about applying patches at both the enterprise and individual user level, HPE said. Also, software vendors must be more transparent about the implications of their patches so that end-users aren’t afraid to deploy them.

Malware has evolved from being simply disruptive to a revenue-generating activity for attackers. While the overall number of newly discovered malware samples declined 3.6 percent year-over-year, the attack targets shifted along with evolving enterprise trends and focused heavily on monetization, according to the report.

As the number of connected mobile devices expands, malware is diversifying to target the most popular mobile operating platforms. The number of Android threats, malware and potentially unwanted apps have increased to more than 10,000 new threats discovered daily, reaching a total year-over-year increase of 153 percent.

Apple iOS represented the greatest growth rate, with a malware sample increase of more than 230 percent.

Malware attacks on ATMs use hardware, software loaded onto the ATM, or a combination of both to steal credit card information. In some cases, attacks at the software level bypass card authentication to directly dispense cash. Banking Trojans, such as variants of the Zbot Trojan, continue to be problematic despite protection efforts. More than 100,000 of these were detected in 2015.

Ransomware is an increasingly successful attack model, with several ransomware families wreaking havoc in 2015 by encrypting files of both consumer and corporate users. Examples include Cryptolocker, Cryptowall, CoinVault, BitCryptor, TorrentLocker, TeslaCrypt and others.

The best protection against ransomware is a sound backup policy for all important files on the system, HPE notes in the report.

In addition, cross-border agreements pose challenges for enterprises struggling to keep their systems secure and in compliance. Organizations must follow the changing legislative activity closely and maintain a flexible security approach, HPE said.


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