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|McAfee Labs Report Finds 93 Percent of Security Operations Center Managers Overwhelmed by Alerts and Unable to Triage Potential Threats|
|Posted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 05:52:45 PM|
Security Operations Center Survey Respondents Acknowledge Inability to Keep Up with Cybersecurity Alerts or Triage Relevant Events for Investigation
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 13, 2016 – Intel Security today released its McAfee Labs Threats Report: December 2016, which provides insights into how enterprises are using security operations centers (SOCs), details key 2016 developments in ransomware, and illustrates how attackers are creating difficult-to-detect malware by infecting legitimate code with Trojans and leveraging that legitimacy to remain hidden as long as possible. The December report also details the growth of ransomware, mobile malware, macro malware, Mac OS malware and other threats in Q3 2016.
“One of the harder problems in the security industry is identifying the malicious actions of code that was designed to behave like legitimate software, with low false positives,” said Vincent Weafer, vice president of Intel Security’s McAfee Labs. “The more authentic a piece of code appears, the more likely it is to be overlooked. Just as 2016 saw more ransomware become sandbox-aware, the need to conceal malicious activity is driving a trend toward ‘Trojanizing’ legitimate applications. Such developments place an ever greater workload on an organization’s SOC – where success requires an ability to quickly detect, hunt down, and eradicate attacks in progress.”
The State of the SOC in 2016
In mid-2016, Intel Security commissioned a primary research study to gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which enterprises use SOCs, how they have changed over time, and what they will look like in the future. Interviews with nearly 400 security practitioners across several countries, industries and company sizes yielded valuable information on the state of the SOC in 2016:
Survey respondents said that the highest priority for the growth and investment of SOCs is to improve the ability to respond to confirmed attacks, which includes the ability to coordinate, remediate, eradicate, learn and prevent reoccurrences.
For more information on McAfee Labs research into the state of SOCs, see Do you need to pull up your SOCs?
Emergence of “Trojanized” Legitimate Software
The report also detailed some of the many ways attackers place Trojans within commonly accepted code to obscure their malicious intent. McAfee Labs identified a variety of approaches to accomplishing this:
For more information on the Trojanization of legitimate software, see Trojanization is on the rise.
2016: The Year of Ransomware?
Through the end of Q3, the number of new ransomware samples in 2016 totaled 3,860,603, leading to an increase of 80 percent in total ransomware samples since the beginning of the year. Beyond the leap in volume, ransomware exhibited notable technical advances in 2016, including partial or full disk encryption, encryption of websites used by legitimate applications, anti-sandboxing, more sophisticated exploit kits for ransomware delivery, and more ransomware-as-a-service developments.
“Last year we predicted that the incredible growth in ransomware attacks in 2015 would continue into 2016,” Weafer said. “The year 2016 may indeed be remembered as ‘the year of ransomware,’ with both a huge jump in the number of ransomware attacks, a number of high-profile attacks that generated wide media interest, and significant technical advances in this type of attack. On the other side of the ransomware attacks, greater cooperation between the security industry and law enforcement, and constructive collaboration between industry rivals truly began to deliver results in taking the fight to the criminals. As a result, we expect the growth of ransomware attacks to slow in 2017.”
For more information on the developments in the ransomware space, see A Year at Ransom.
Q3 2016 Threat Activity
In the third quarter of 2016, McAfee Labs’ Global Threat Intelligence network registered notable surges in ransomware, mobile malware and macro malware:
For guidance on how organizations can better protect their enterprises from the threats detailed in this quarter’s report, visit Enterprise Blog.