Year-over-year, the number of malicious web-based attacks increased by nearly 600 percent, according to a new report.
These attacks were staged predominantly on legitimate sites and challenge traditional approaches to security and trust, according to the report from Websense Security Labs. The timed, targeted nature of these advanced threats indicates a new breed of sophisticated attacker who is intent on compromising increasingly higher-yield targets.
Key report findings:
• Each week, organizations faced an average of 1,719 attacks for every 1,000 users.
• Malicious websites increased by nearly 600 percent worldwide.
• North American malicious sites increased by 720 percent and EMEA saw a 531 percent increase.
• Legitimate web hosts were home to 85 percent of those malicious sites.
• Half of web-connected malware downloaded additional executables in the first 60 seconds.
• Only 7.7 percent of malware interacted with the system registry—circumventing many behavioral detection systems and antivirus solutions.
• Thirty-two percent of malicious links in social media used shortened URLs. Once cybercriminals gain access to a host, they typically hide their own malicious pages deep in the directory tree. This process generates very long and complex web links that might tip off a wary user. Link shortening solves that problem.
• The United States of America, Russia and Germany were the top three countries hosting malware. Meanwhile, the Bahamas made its debut into the list of top five countries hosting phishing sites, with a second place ranking.
• China, the United States of America and Russia were the top three countries hosting command and control servers.
• Only one in five emails were legitimate and email spam increased to 76 percent. Worldwide spam volumes reached more than a quarter of a million emails per hour.
• One in 10 malicious mobile applications asked for permission to install other apps, something rarely required by legitimate apps.
Analysis and news headlines show that multistage attacks with multiple vectors have challenged security capabilities, as they worked to find weak spots and circumvent defenses. Attacks identified by Websense indicate a need for integration at the actual defense level and deep content security intelligence with real-time security defenses.
When independent solutions are in place, there is no way to ensure that email, web, mobile, social and data loss defenses are each prepared to perform their role to cohesively address an emerging threat. As a result, individual defenses are at the mercy of the least prepared security solution.