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Posts Tagged ‘Cybercrime’

March 2013 Cyber Attacks Statistics

April 9, 2013 1 comment

It is time to summarize the timelines of March (part I and part II) into statistics. Of course this exercise does not aim to be exhaustive but only to provide a snapshot of the current landscape.

The Daily Trend chart shows a decrease of the attacks in the second part of the month with an isolated peak on the 20th: the day of the wiper attack in Korea. Except for this the trend is clearly decreasing

March 2013 Daily Trend

Hacktivism is still on top of the Motivations Behind Attacks chart with 50% of occurrences. Same rank and a value similar to the previous month when it was at 56%. Also March confirms that Cyber Espionage campaigns are becoming more and more frequent (or at least deserve an important coverage on the chronicles). Symptom of a growing attention or simply a media hype?

March 2013 Motivations

The Distribution Of Attack Techniques is influenced by the Operation Ababil against U.S. Banks, that has pushed the DDoS at number one with nearly one attack above two during this month. This is very different from the previous month when SQLi led the chart with 34%. Even in this case it is important to notice the growing presence of targeted attacks on the chart (strictly related to the growing coverage of Cyber Espionage campaigns).

March 2013 Attacks

Last, but not least, the Distribution of Targets chart shows the financial targets at number one with nearly 30% (a clear influence of the attacks against U.S. Banks). Governmental targets are immediately behind with 25.5%. At number three a (relatively) new entry: target belonging to the news sector gain the bronze medal with the 12.4% of occurrences.

March 2013 Targets

As usual, as I told before, no need to remind that 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”.

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 and now 2013 (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).

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February 2013 Cyber Attacks Statistics

March 8, 2013 2 comments

Quick Update: More and more visitors ask where the data for the statistics is collected from. It is indicated at the end of each post, but for those that do not feel like to read until the bottom: the stats are an aggregation of the corresponding Cyber Attack Timeline of the current month.

Although the number of Cyber Attacks in February has not reached the level of January, the level of attention in this part of the year remains high.

The Daily Trend of Attacks chart clearly shows a peak around the 23th of February, the International Privacy Day, when the Anonymous unleashed their OpBigBrother, concentrating the fire against industries related to Video Surveillance and several Law Enforcement Institutions. Other “trafficked” day of the month were the 3rd and the 15th.

Daily Trend 16-30 February 2013

The Motivations Behind Attacks chart confirms the prevalence of hacktivism with 56% of occurrences, exactly the same percentage observed in January. Cyber Crime is stable at number two, even if its percentage dropped from 40% to 31%. It is interesting to notice, month after month, the growing number of Cyber Espionage campaigns discovered.

Motivations Behind Attacks 16-30 February 2013

SQLi leads the Distribution Of Attack Techniques chart with 34.3% of occurrences, a value similar to the one encountered in January (32.6%) when this category of attacks ranked at number two. One month ago, the first place was for DDoS, which apparently is loosing appeal in February, dropping from the first to the fifth place with a small 8%, far from the 39% of the previous month and also overtaken, by Targeted Attacks (11.7%). The next months will tell us if this is the beginning of a new trend or simply an isolated sporadic event.

Distribution Of Attack Techniques 16-31 Febrary 2013

Last but not least,industry targets lead the Distribution Of Targets charts. This is a consequence of the spree of attacks against video surveillance industries happened on February the 23rd. Governmental targets confirm their second place with a value (23.7%) close to the one registered during the previous month. Targets belonging to organizations rank at the third place, in front of financial targets.

Distribution Of Targets 16-31 Febrary 2013

As usual, no need to remind that the sample must be taken very carefully since it refers only to discovered attacks included in the 1-15 and 16-28 February 2013 Cyber Attacks Timelines (the so-called tip of the iceberg), and hence it does not pretend to 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 and now 2013 (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 2012 Cyber Attacks Statistics

January 9, 2013 2 comments

December (and hence this 2012) is gone, so it is time to analyze the statistics for the corresponding Cyber Attacks Timelines.

According to the Daily Trend of December, the Christmas break has not stopped the hackers. The trend is quite constant (with a decrease around the end of the month) and with a peak around the 21st of December (the alleged End of the World according to the Mayan Calendar).

Daily Trend December 2012

The Motivations Behind Attacks chart shows an inversion of tendency in comparison with November. Cyber Crime and Hacktivism had nearly the same impact with respectively the 47% and 46% of occurrences. It is also interesting the presence of Cyber Warfare and Cyber Espionage Campaigns (mainly concentrated in the East).

Motivations December 2012

Also in December, the Distribution Of Attack Techniques Chart confirms the predominance of SQL Injection, even if with a slightly lower impact than the previous month when it was at the 52%: nearly one attack on three has been carried on with this technique. Instead, in almost one attack on four, there was not enough information. Despite the attacks by Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters, the weight of DDoS is progressively decreasing (this category ranks at number four with the 17% of occurrences), while, on the other side, the number of discovered targeted attacks is growing. Maybe they are increasingly attracting the attention of Security Researchers.

Distribution December 2012Again an inversion in comparison with November: the Distribution Of Targets chart shows that in the December cyber-crooks diverted their attention for targets belonging to the Government sector, even if industries and organizations are very close (the peak of the latter is due to the campaign of the Anonymous against the Westboro Baptist Church. It is also interesting to notice the peak of attacks against Financial institutions mainly due to the waves of DDoS attacks against the U.S. Bank.

Targets December 2012

As usual, no need to remind that the sample must be taken very carefully since it refers only to discovered attacks included in the December Cyber Attacks Timeline (the so-called tip of the iceberg), and hence it does not pretend to 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 and 2012 (regularly updated), 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).

The Botnet Factory

September 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Probably there’s something more in the Next Step Of Botnets besides BlackHole 2.0 and Tor C&C mentioned in my previous post. I mentioned the takedown of the Nitol Botnet by Microsoft as one of the most important infosec events of the last week, but I forgot to mention one important aspect related to this event: the malware supply chain.

As a matter of fact, in case of Nitol, Microsoft discovered a real botnet factory, that is a compromised supply chain, based in China, that allowed new computers (to be sold to unaware consumers) to come pre-installed with malware embedded with counterfeit version of Microsft OS.

A step forward in the Cyber Crime industry with the advantage for cyber crooks to setup an “army” of zombie machines without enforcing time consuming drive-by attacks or spam campaigns. I used the term army since the main features of Nitol are the capability to execute on-demand DDoS attacks (besides to offer a backdoor to cyber criminals for taking control of the infected machines).

Unfortunately, what’s especially disturbing according to Microsoft, is that the counterfeit software embedded with malware could have infiltrated the chain at any point.

If you still have doubts that Cyber Crime has become a real industry there’s no better example to demonstrate it. Moreover I cannot help but think that, once upon a time, new computers came out with antivirus software embedded, today they are sold directly with malware.

May 2012 Cyber Attacks Statistics

June 10, 2012 1 comment

As I did last month for the Cyber Attacks occurred in April, I have aggregated the data collected on the timelines of May (on the right) in order to provide a consolidated view of the month according to the three parameters of Motivations Behind Attacks, Distribution of Targets and Distribution of Attack Techniques. Again, no need to repeat that data must be taken very carefully since they do refers only to discovered attacks (the so-called tip of the iceberg), and hence do not pretend to be exhaustive but only aim to provide an high level overview of the “cyber landscape” of the month.

As far as Motivations Behind Attacks are concerned, month after month, the charts are becoming monotonous. Cyber Crime ranked undoubtedly at number one with the 61% of occurrences. Twice the occurrences of Hacktivism which ranked at number two. In this chart, Cyber Warfare and Cyber Espionage motivated-attacks are well behind although they were few but good (One Flame was enough for this month, wasn’t it?).

The Distribution of Targets chart is highly fragmented even if with a familar pattern:  Government targets ranked firmly on top of the preferences for the attackers, with Education and Law Enforcement targets completing the top three (although, compared to April, they swapped their positions in this unenviable chart). It worths to mention that targets belonging to organizations that offers on-line services are fragmented as well, but if the single entries are summed up, they would rank at number two with approximately the 15% of occurrences.

The Distribution of Attack Techniques chart whows that SQL Injection has been the preferred weapon used by Cyber Criminals in May, overtaking Distributed Denial of Service, the Cyber Paintball Pistol. Clearly the occurrences of DDoS attacks are influenced by the winds of hacktivism which did not blow so high in May. Interesting to notice a further important number of events (17% of the sample) related to unknown attacks targeting DBs, which clearly shows that data repositories are proving to be the weakes element of the chain. May the patch enFORCEment be with you!

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 and 2012 (regularly updated), and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

April 2012 Cyber Attacks Statistics

I have aggregated the data collected related to cyber attacks occurred in April 2012 (that you may find in the links on the right) in order to provide a consolidated view for the month. The statistics have been taken according to three parameters: Motivations Behind Attacks, Distribution of Targets and Distribution of Attack Techniques. Of course the information does not pretend to be exhaustive, in any case it is useful to provide a snapshot on the cyber landscape of the last month.

As far as the Motivations Behind Attacks are concerned, Cyber Crime ranks undoubtedly at number one with the 51% of the occurrences. Hacktivism is at number two with “only” the 39% of the occurrences. Other motivations such as Cyber Warfare or Cyber Espionage are far behind with respectively the 7 and 2 percent. This is not a surprise since attacks motivated by Cyber Espionage should be supposed to be subtle and hidden and this explains their rank (unlike the attacks motivated by hacktivism that use to attract the greatest attention by media).

As far as the Distribution Of Targets is concerned, Governements keep on to be preferred targets, with nearly one third of the occurrences. Law Enforcement Agencies rank at number two with 9% immediately followed by Educational Institutions with 7%. Online Platforms such as Online Games or other kind of platforms (such as email services) are behind with the 6% of occurrences for both of them. Of course the high position for governments and LEAs is quite simple to explain: both categories are the preferred targets for hactkivists.

A month characterized by Distributed Denial of Service, at least according to the Distribution of Attack Techniques chart. SQL Injection ranks at number two, immediately followed by Defacement. If we sum up also the indirect occurrences of SQLi (that is those cases whose symptoms seem the ones proper of SQLi but no direct evidences were found) the distribution of the two techniques is nearly the same (respectively 29% for DDoS and 27% for SQLi). Of course DDoS is the preferedd cyber weapon for hacktivists and this explain its dominion on this unwelcomed chart.

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 and 2012 (regularly updated), and follow @paulsparrows on Twitter for the latest updates.

Imperfect Cybercrimes

April 19, 2012 1 comment

Law Enforcement Agencies are taking their revenge against the Hacktivists who mostly targeted them during the last months. In a deadly and unexpected sequence, the last 40 days have seen the heads of three infamous hacking crews falling under the blows of FBI and Scotland Yard.

One after the other, the key members of LulzSec, CabinCr3w and Team Poison have been arrested and in all but one case (that is the arrest of the alleged members of Team P0ison for which no details are known so far), the events have unveiled some surprises and unexpected details. Moreover, at least three arrests have been possible since the hackers left behind them a trail of mistakes which allowed the investigators to connect the dots and link their twitter accounts to their real identities.

The following table depicts the facts which may be better summarized from the Criminal Complaints which are reported below for:

As you may notice, in two cases, W0rmer and ItsKahuna, the hackers were betrayed by two familiar technologies which are commonly considered dangerous for users’ privacy and identity: social networks and mobile devices. Sabu was the one who really did a “technical mistake” by connecting to an IRC without protecting his IP address with TOR.

Interesting to say is also the different approach of FBI and Scotland Yard. Once discovered the real identities of the hackers the Feds tried to “enroll” them as informants, at least in one case (Sabu) this strategy was winning. At the opposite the Britons immediately caught the alleged culprits without giving any detail about their identity, maybe hoping the arrest could act as a deterrent for the other hackers. Apparently it looks like this latter strategy was not completely successful since the CabinCr3w survivors are threatening authorities, inviting other Blackhats to join them for the revenge.

Last but not least, I cannot help but notice the tweet below for which I remember to have been particularly impressed when I first saw it since, at that time, I considered it a too much imprudent. Consequently I was not that surprised when I saw it quoted in the Criminal Complaint.

At the end we are becoming more and more familiar with mobile phones and Social Network, so familiar to forget their level of intrusiveness and the related dangers for our privacy. As an example try to verify how many of you and your friend toggle Geo-Tagging off from their phone cameras. (Un)fortunately, it looks like not even the bad guys are immune from this.

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