New Threat Report Shows Need for More Secure SaaS Programs

Network security company Palo Alto Networks has released its latest Application Usage and Threat Report.

Based on data from 7,000 different enterprises worldwide, the report includes real-world trends on the usage of enterprise applications, critical developments in hacker attacks and recommendations for preventing how applications are used as well as important progress on how to prevent cyberattacks. 

The report shows the surge in the adoption of software-as-a-service-based applications could possibly initiate new security risks or enable access to sensitive data. Insights are provided on how well-known attack targets continue to present challenges, as well as global application usage trends for high-risk categories.

“At Palo Alto Networks, we believe that the sharing of cyber threat intelligence benefits society as a whole, and that belief is the motivation behind the publication of our annual Application Usage and Threat Report,” said Ryan Olson, an intelligence director at Palo Alto Networks. “The better informed cybersecurity professionals are about how attackers are exploiting applications to compromise networks, the more likely they will be able to identify attacks and take action to stop them before their networks are compromised.”  

In addition to the exploding popularity of SaaS applications (a 46 percent growth between 2012 and 2015), the report finds that among the areas vulnerable to hacker attacks are:

  • Email attachments – Over 40 percent were found to be malicious.
  • Remote access applications – There are currently 69 unique remote access applications in use worldwide which are a commonly used by cyber attackers.
  • Tragedies and headline news – It takes an average of six hours for breaking news to be turned into a vehicle for delivering spear phishing, spam or a Web attacks.

Also included in the report are profiles of  Carbanak (Russia/Ukraine), Sandworm (Russia) and Shell Crew (China), three leading cybercrime groups targeting government and business organizations throughout Europe and North America.

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