It goes without saying that rigorous security controls are irreplaceable. But no matter how strong an organization’s cybersecurity defenses are, determined attackers will still get in. Whether malicious insiders or external actors, persistent attackers fly below the radar and reside for months inside a network. They’re patient, studying the infrastructure and carefully planning their attack because what they’re typically after are the crown jewels of your business: essential data volumes, intellectual property, financial transactions, or revenue-dependent business operations.
*This blog was originally posted on Dark Reading
In discussions about cyber attacks, “when, not if” has become overused. We all know attacks are going to happen to every organization that depends on the Internet—which of course, is nearly every one. The risk of an attack is always present—and, in fact, malicious actors or software are probably present at most times in most environments.
“Hello darkness, my old friend”—Simon & Garfunkel couldn’t have said it better when it comes to describing ideal conditions for APTs. New targeted attacks against banks in Russia, Armenia, and Malaysia have been detected and attributed to the Silence group. Silence represents an ongoing cybercrime shift from targeting end users (bank account fraud) to carrying out advanced direct attacks against the banks themselves. According to Web India, Silence joins the ranks of the most devastating and complex cyber-robbery operations like Metel, GCMAN, and Carbanak, which succeeded in stealing millions of dollars from financial organizations.
Attacks on banks’ SWIFT wire transfer systems in 2016 made headlines, with the Bank of Bangladesh’s $81 million heist leading the losses. There might be another wave of fraud attacks underway, with news of NIC Asia Bank, one of Nepal’s largest private-sector commercial banks, experiencing an attack between October 17 and October 21. Attackers extracted $4.4 million in fraudulent money transfers from NIC Asia Bank to accounts in six other countries through a compromise of NIC systems. Earlier in October, attackers also stole $60 million from Far Eastern International Bank in Taiwan via fraudulent SWIFT money-moving messages. According to several reports from the past year, these attacks may be attributable to the Lazarus Group which has been very active in The Far East and Africa over the past decade. The group utilizes sophisticated TTPs, tailor-made to compromise SWIFT systems.
As Illusive’s R&D leader, it’s part of my job to be out front understanding the needs of our customers and the broader market. We’re always polling the market to understand what additional pain points deception technology can address. Conversations with our financial services customers this past year turned over a need we hadn’t expected: Can you protect my mainframes?
The risk of an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)—the possibility of an advanced cyber attacker moving under cover in an enterprise network—keeps CISOs awake at night. But it's making more C-level executives and their board members restless, too, because of the potentially massive damage advanced attacks can cause to business reputations, critical systems, data manipulated or stolen and operations compromised. Boards and senior execs are demanding better accountability and assurances that their organizations are adequately protected.