FireEye on alarming evolution of advanced threats in H2 2012

Pierluigi Paganini April 04, 2013

FireEye is one of most interesting security companies, thanks to its investigations many cases have been discovered in the last months, such as the attack to Bit9 companies and the abuse of its certificate to sign malicious code.

The security firm has just published a new interesting report titled “2H 2012 Advanced Threat Report” reporting evolution of advanced threats targeting organizations during the second part of last year. The company based the analysis on data collected directly from appliances at customer sites around the world, according the report they detected around 89 million events.

The document presents an alarming scenario, during the second part of 2012 have been literally submerged by attacks malware based, the experts at FireEye estimated every three minutes a user receives a malicious email and an employee clicking on a link that hijacks it to a compromised website.

The sector most affected is the tech industry probably due the value of its intellectual property, the attackers have a deep knowledge of their targets and of the information they search for.

Fireeye Industry average malware events 2012

Ali Mesdaq, expert at FireEye declared:

“Technology companies have the type of intellectual property that can be taken easily and leveraged quickly in comparison to some other verticals.”

The report revealed a cyclicality in the attacks against specific sector like technology, spear phishing is attack method most diffuses to spread malicious code.

Report states:

“Both technology and telecommunications experienced malware activity that did not deviate more than 140 percent above average. This means attackers found these verticals an attractive target”

Typically attacker to cheat  victims uses file names having business terms that fall mainly in the three categories: shipping and delivery, finance and general business, the image below proposes top 10 file names used, an information that is fundamental for IT security team to update email filters and for employ to be aware of potential cyber threats connected to attachments.

Fireeye File Name Used 2012

Malware based attacks exploit as diffusion vector the emails, in 92 percent of attacks the malicious code id delivered in ZIP file format, the report also revealed that these malware are increasing in complexity, authors have concentrated the effort in the implementation of most efficient techniques to avoid detection.

 Malicious Emails by Threat Vector

Attackers are making large use of a dynamic link library (DLL) file, instead .exe files, to improve persistent control of the malicious agent and prolong the infection. The report ends with the presentation of the Beebus case study to explore the anatomy of an APT attack and demonstrate the capability of attackers to elude principal security defenses.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – APT)

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