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1-15 February 2015 Cyber Attacks Timeline

February 17, 2015 Leave a comment

I was delivering to Anthem the very unwelcome prize for the first massive breach of 2015, when the Operation Carbanak has brought an unexpected tail to this first half of February.

These two events have undoubtedly characterized this timeline and overshadowed all the others: on one hand, a massive cyber attack (allegedly carried on by Chinese hackers) targeting one of the largest US ensurers, able to scoop up 80 million records. On the other hand, a sophisticated long lasting campaign, stealing more than $300 million on 100 banks in 30 nations.

It is very hard to choose which one deserves the (not so) coveted prize, in any case a consideration is worth: there could not have been a worst way to begin this 2015 Infosec year.

Moving on along the timeline, other interesting events appear, such as the compromising of the Forbes web site (again Flash is on the spot) by a Chinese APT Group dubbed Codoso, a “mobile tail” of the Operation Pawn Storm, now spreading to iOS devices, and eventually an unprecedented campaign targeting Syrian rebels using a combination of fake social media and Skype accounts associated with fictional female characters.

In background, as usual, multiple events driven by hacktivism, whose most remarkable one is undoubtedly the massive campaign carried on by the Anonymous collective, aimed to erase hundreds of pro-ISIS accounts and profiles from the Cyber Space (in particular from Facebook and Twitter).

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our electronic identity is inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

1-15 Feb 2015 Cyber Attacks Timeline Read more…

January 2015 Cyber Attacks Statistics

February 5, 2015 6 comments

Country DistributionIt is time to summarize the data collected into the January 2015 Cyber Attacks timelines (Part I and Part II) into valuable statistics.

Many readers keep on asking where the information used to create the stats comes from. The answer is always the same: the statistics are created elaborating the timelines that I collect (approximately) on a bi-weekly basis and I publish on this blog (see also the Cyber Attacks Master Index).

I cannot be exhaustive, but at least my intention is just to provide an overview of the Threat Landscape, reporting the attacks that gained space in the media.

Moving to the data, as usual, the United States lead the Country Distribution chart for each category. The surprises of this month are France and UK, which win the “silver medal” having suffered an unusual number of cyber attacks by Pro-Islamist hacktivists, but also a number of “more traditional” attacks related to cyber crime, a number well above the average.

The Daily Trend of Attacks Chart shows an initial peak, a new concentration of activity in the middle of the month, followed by a decreasing trend with a partial revamp towards the end.

Daily Trend Jan 2015

Cyber Crime is always on top of the Motivations Behind Attacks Chart, even if with a small decrease in comparison with December (67.4% vs 72.6%). All in favor of hacktivism, which bumped up to 29.2% from 17.8%. On the opposite site, Cyber Espionage is well below the noticeable 8.8% of December.

Sometimes it comes back! I am obviously talking about SQLi, which, after several months in the shadow, ranks on top of the Attack Technique Distribution Chart (and even with quite an important value (33.7%). Defacements and Account Hijackings complete  the podium for the known attacks.

For the fifth month in a row, industry ranks unchallenged on top of the Distribution of Targets chart (but the 28.1% recorded this month is notably smaller than the 47.9% reported in December). Governmental targets rank at number two, and educational institutions are at the third place exactly just like one month ago.

Once again, E-commerce leads the drill-down chart for the industrial targets, whereas Non-Profit are on top of the corresponding chart for organizations.

Ind Drill Down Jan 2015 Org Drill Down Jan 2015

As usual, the sample must be taken very carefully since it refers only to discovered attacks included in my timelines, aiming to provide an high level overview of the “cyber landscape”.

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics.

Of course follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates, and feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

16-31 January 2015 Cyber Attacks Timeline

February 2, 2015 2 comments

It’s time for the second part of the January Cyber Attacks Timeline (Part I here).

In comparison with the first half of the month, in absolute terms, these two weeks have seen a slightly smaller number of attacks. However, even if the general trend has shown a decrease, the hacktivists (most of all the pro-Islamist ones) have been equally very active (and the French evening newspaper Le Monde, fallen under the keystrokes of the infamous Syrian Electronic Army, is the most illustrious victim).

Turning the attention to Cyber Crime, the most important event related to this category is probably the leak of 700,000 accounts from the Australian travel insurer Aussie Travel Cover. Of course there are many other background events, but no one reached an impact as noticeable as that.

Last but not least, I have not recorded noticeable events or campaigns related to Cyber Espionage.

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our electronic identity is inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

16-31 Jan 2015 Cyber Attacks Timeline Read more…

1-15 January 2015 Cyber Attacks Timeline

January 20, 2015 4 comments

It’s now time for the first chart of this 2015, a year that has begun in the worst way even from an Information Security perspective, given the high number of attacks recorded in the first half of January.

Unfortunately the sad events happened in Paris have inevitably conditioned this period: France has been the target of an unprecedented number of cyber attacks (approximately 19,000) allegedly carried on by Islamist hackers and strictly related with the events of the Charlie Hebdo. Nearly in contemporary, the Anonymous have declared war against the IS-IS and have taken down several Jiahdist sites. In the meantime the pro IS-IS hackers of the Cyber Caliphate have found the time to hijack the Twitter account of the CENTCOM: the US military command that oversees operations in the Middle East.

France has also been one of the main targets for Cyber Criminals, since the most remarkable breach of this two weeks has hit the shopping site of TF1, the most important local TV stations (nearly 2 million records possibly compromised). There is also indication of a possible attack to the Spanish affiliate of Orange, but it has not been confirmed.

Other noticeable events of this period concern a possible breach to the EA/Origin service, another (failed) attempt to blackmail a bank, perpetrated by the infamous Rex Mundi collective, and, on a different scale a massive malvertising campaign targeting sites with a combined total monthly traffic of around 1.5 billion visitors.

However, at least for once, I have not recorded events related to Cyber Espionage.

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our electronic identity is inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

1-15 Jan 2015 Cyber Attacks Timeline Read more…

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2014 Cyber Attacks Statistics (Aggregated)

January 13, 2015 6 comments

As I did exactly one year ago, I have consolidated all the stats collected during 2014 with the intention to provide an high level overview of the past year. Of course this data does not pretend be exhaustive, I’d rather prefer to define the charts as macro-indicators of the threat landscape and the corresponding trends, since the sources of the timelines (from which the stats are derived) are open and therefore only show cyber attacks that were discovered and gained space in the news.

It is interesting to compare the trend of 2014 with the two previous years. It appears to be more stable, even if the overall level has been lower. The reason of this? Maybe the decreased impact of hacktivism and the major attention of the media towards the massive breaches that characterized the past year.

Monthly Trend

On the other hand, if one considers the drill down of the motivations month-by-month, it is even clearer the impact of Cyber Crime.

Monthly Trend (Drill Down)

And obviously the aggregated yearly distribution of motivations confirms this trend: Cyber Crime ranks at number one with 62.3% (it was 47% last year) followed by Hacktivism (24.9%, was 44% last year). It is interesting to notice the rise of Cyber Espionage that doubled its percentage (10.2% vs 5% in 2014).

Yearly Motivations

Defacement leads the chart of known Attack Techniques (16.4%, was 14% last year) ahead of SQLi (14.3%, down from 19% last year) and Account Hijacking (10.9%, a value slightly higher than last year when it was at  9%). It’s also worth to mention the Influence of Targeted Attacks (10.5%) and Malware, which in practice rank on top if one consider also the PoS Malware (the aggregated value is 17.3%).

Yearly Attack Techniques

Just like 2014, Governments and Industries have been the most preferred targets for Cyber Attackers with similar values (respectively 27.1% and 25.2%), with a substantial growth year-over-year (in 2014 they were respectively 23% and 22%). Targets belonging to Finance rank at number three (15.7%, more than twice in comparison with 2014). Organizations and news come after with respectively 8.3% and 6.6%.

Yearly Targets

As usual, bear in mind that the sample must be taken very carefully since it refers only to discovered attacks, published in the news, and included in my timelines. The sample cannot be exhaustive but only aims to provide an high level overview of the “cyber landscape”.

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics, and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Also, feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

December 2014 Cyber Attacks Statistics

January 9, 2015 5 comments

CountryThe new year has just begun, and here we are with the last blog post for the 2014 just gone related to the Cyber Attacks statistics derived from the timelines of December (Part I and Part II).

As usual, the US dominate the Country Distribution Chart for all the sectors taken into consideration, well ahead all the other countries.

The Daily Trend of Attacks Chart shows a concentration of activity in the central period of the month (maybe the Christmas atmosphere is particularly inspiring for crooks). After a slow start (or better an initial decrease), the trend climbs up, remaining quite constant for about 10 days.

Daily Trend Dec 2014

Cyber Crime rules! Or at least this is what the Motivations Behind Attacks Chart states. Actually this is quite a common situation, however, what is really surprising is the percentage, boomed to a noticeable 72.6% against the 55.8% of the previous month. As a consequence all the other sectors report values, sensibly smaller than the previous month.

Motivations Dec 2014

Tbe actions of the infamous Lizard Squad have brought DDoS on top of the Attack Techniques Chart (among the known ones). For the first time equally placed with Defacements and DDoS attacks. Once again, targeted attacks rank at number four with 9.8%, substantially in line with November.

Techniques Dec 2014

For the fourth month in a row, industry ranks unchallenged on top of the Distribution of Targets chart with an unprecedented 47.9%. Governmental targets rank at number two (13.7%), while educational institutions enter the top three with 9.6%.

Targets Dec 2014

E-commerce leads the drill-down chart for the industrial targets, whereas Human Rights are on top of the corresponding chart for organizations.

Industry Drill Down Dec 2014Org Drill Down Dec 2014

As usual, the sample must be taken very carefully since it refers only to discovered attacks included in my timelines. The sample does not pretend to be exhaustive but only aims to provide an high level overview of the “cyber landscape”, or at least of the ones that gained space in the media (yes, using an abused expression this is just the tip of the Iceberg).

If you want to have an idea of how fragile our data are inside the cyberspace, have a look at the timelines of the main Cyber Attacks in 2011, 2012, 2013 and now 2014 (regularly updated). You may also want to have a look at the Cyber Attack Statistics.

Of course follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates, and feel free to submit remarkable incidents that in your opinion deserve to be included in the timelines (and charts).

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