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CrowdStrike Global Threat Report Reveals Big Game Hunting, Telecommunication Targeting Take Center Stage for Cyber Adversaries

Researchers found that the telecommunications industry is being targeted with increased frequency by threat actors.

By Michael Sentonas

Report unveils platform data and trends from targeted intrusion activity and attack techniques from both nation-state adversaries and cyber criminals 

BANGALORE, India. – March 5, 2020CrowdStrike® Inc. (Nasdaq: CRWD), a leader in cloud-delivered endpoint protection, today announced the release of the 2020 CrowdStrike Global Threat Report. Findings from the report indicate that during 2019, financially motivated cybercrime activity occurred on a nearly continuous basis. CrowdStrike observed an increase in incidents of ransomware, maturation of the tactics used, and increasing ransom demands from eCrime actors. Increasingly these actors have begun conducting data exfiltration, enabling the weaponization of sensitive data through threats of leaking embarrassing or proprietary information.

Moving beyond eCrime, nation-state adversaries continued unabated throughout 2019, targeting a wide range of industries. Another key trend in this year’s report is the telecommunications industry being targeted with increased frequency by threat actors, such as China and DPRK. CrowdStrike Intelligence assesses that various nations, particularly China, have interest in targeting this sector to steal intellectual property and competitive intelligence. 

Combatting threats from sophisticated nation-state and eCrime adversaries requires a mature process that can prevent, detect and respond to threats with speed and agility. CrowdStrike recommends organizations to pursue the “1-10-60 rule” in order to effectively thwart cyberthreats. 1-10-60 guidelines are the following: detect intrusions in under one minute; investigate in 10 minutes; contain and eliminate the adversary in 60 minutes. Organizations that meet this benchmark are much more likely to eradicate the adversary before an attack spreads from its initial entry point, ultimately minimizing organizational impact.  

“2019 brought an onslaught of new techniques from nation-state actors and an increasingly complex eCrime underground filled with brazen tactics and massive increases in targeted ransomware demands. As such, modern security teams must employ technologies to detect, investigate and remediate incidents faster with swift preemptive countermeasures, such as threat intelligence, and follow the 1-10-60 rule,” said Adam Meyers, vice president of Intelligence at CrowdStrike. 

Global Threat Report
Another key trend in this year’s report is the telecommunications industry being targeted with increased frequency by threat actors, such as China and DPRK. Pixabay

Other notable highlights from the 2020 Global Threat Report include: 

  • The trend toward malware-free tactics accelerated, with malware-free attacks surpassing the volume of malware attacks. In 2019, 51% of attacks used malware-free techniques compared to 40% using malware-free techniques in 2018, underscoring the need to advance beyond traditional antivirus (AV) solutions.
  • China continues to focus many operations on supply chain compromises, demonstrating the nation-state’s continued use of this tactic to identify and infect multiple victims. Other targeting of key U.S. industries deemed vital to China’s strategic interests — including clean energy, healthcare, biotechnology, and pharmaceuticals — is also likely to continue.
  • The industries at the top of the target list for enterprise ransomware (Big Game Hunting) observed were local governments and municipalities, academic institutions, the technology sector, healthcare, manufacturing, financial services and media companies. 
  • In addition to supporting currency generation, DPRK’s targeting of cryptocurrency exchanges could support espionage-oriented efforts designed to collect information on users or cryptocurrency operations and systems. In addition, CrowdStrike Intelligence suspects that DPRK has also been developing its own cryptocurrency to further circumvent sanctions. 

“This year’s report indicates a massive increase in eCrime behavior can easily disrupt business operations, with criminals employing tactics to leave organizations inoperable for large periods of time. It’s imperative that modern organizations employ a sophisticated security strategy that includes better detection and response and 24/7/365 managed threat hunting to pinpoint incidents and mitigate risks,” said Jennifer Ayers, vice president of OverWatch at CrowdStrike. “CrowdStrike’s comprehensive technology, coupled with our visibility into actor motivations and proactive hunting, protects our customers with the critical components needed to stop modern attacks.” 

Global Threat Report
This year’s report indicates a massive increase in eCrime behavior can easily disrupt business operations, with criminals employing tactics to leave organizations inoperable for large periods of time. Pixabay

The Global Threat Report analyzes comprehensive threat data from CrowdStrike Falcon® Intelligence, CrowdStrike Falcon OverWatch™, the company’s industry-leading managed hunting team, the CrowdStrike Threat Graph®, a massively scalable, cloud-based graph database technology processing over 3 trillion events per week across 176 countries and CrowdStrike Services, providing readers with deep insights on modern adversaries and their tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs).

For additional information, read a blog on report findings from George Kurtz, CrowdStrike’s co-founder and chief executive officer.

Download the 2020 CrowdStrike Global Threat Report.

About CrowdStrike

CrowdStrike® Inc. (Nasdaq: CRWD), a global cybersecurity leader, is redefining security for the cloud era with an endpoint protection platform built from the ground up to stop breaches. The CrowdStrike Falcon® platform’s single lightweight-agent architecture leverages cloud-scale artificial intelligence (AI) and offers real-time protection and visibility across the enterprise, preventing attacks on endpoints on or off the network. Powered by the proprietary CrowdStrike Threat Graph®, CrowdStrike Falcon correlates over 3 trillion endpoint-related events per week in real time from across the globe, fueling one of the world’s most advanced data platforms for security. 

 With CrowdStrike, customers benefit from better protection, better performance and immediate time-to-value delivered by the cloud-native Falcon platform. 

There’s only one thing to remember about CrowdStrike: We stop breaches.

Qualifying organizations can gain full access to Falcon Prevent™ by starting a free trial.

Learn more: https://www.crowdstrike.com/

Follow us: Blog | Twitter

Global Threat Report author
Mike Sentonas is the Global CTO of CrowdStrike.

About the Author

Mike Sentonas is the Global CTO of CrowdStrike. Reporting to the Co-Founder, Mike’s focus is on driving CrowdStrike’s technology strategy. With over 20 years’ experience in cybersecurity, Mike’s most recent roles prior to joining CrowdStrike were Chief Technology Officer – Security Connected and Chief Technology and Strategy Officer APAC, both at McAfee (formerly Intel Security). Mike is an active public speaker on security issues and provides advice to government and business communities on global and local cyber security threats. He is highly-sought after to provide insights into security issues and solutions by the media including television, technology trade publications and technology centric websites.

Also Read- Travel Restrictions on Apple Employees may Delay iPhone 12 Launch

Michael has spoken around the world at numerous sales conferences, customer and non-customer conferences and contributes to various government and industry associations’ initiatives on security. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Edith Cowan University, Western Australia and has an Australian Government security clearance. 

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