August 22nd, 2018

What Are the Latest Trends in Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is an ever-changing landscape, with digital defense companies like Neustar always trying to stay at least one step ahead of hackers. But the cyber criminals are a determined bunch and they never seem to run out of new tactics in their attempts to penetrate an organization’s defensive layers.

Our own James Willett, VP of Technology for Digital Defense and Performance at Neustar, recently did an interview with the hosts of IT Chronicles. They asked James some great questions about how we help organizations defend against the latest security threats, including DDoS attacks and web application layer attacks.

In fact, the first subject the hosts wanted to discuss was Neustar’s recently released cyber report, “The Changing Face of Cyber Attacks” and how DDoS attacks are affecting governments, foreign entities, and businesses.

“We put the report out primarily because we wanted to raise awareness to the ever-changing threats that are out there,” Willett said. “We want to make sure that what we see in the day-to-day activities of mitigating DDoS attacks and other web-based attacks, can be shared with the general public.”

The hosts also delved into the kinds of attacks that security professionals and organizations are most concerned about.

Willett explained that, while denial of service attacks have been around for roughly the last 15 years, bad actors have started to change their strategy. In the past, the goal of the bad actors was to disrupt the service of their victim. Now they’re using DDoS attacks as a smokescreen for their real intentions.

“You’re starting to see (DDoS attacks) morph into a more targeted type of attack,” Willett said. “So after some sort of DDoS attack is launched, all the resources are being used to mitigate that attack. Meanwhile, the hackers are working an exploit on another set of systems and gain access to them while the eyes are off the ball, so to speak.”

In addition, the explosion of IoT devices coming online everyday continues to open the door to vulnerabilities and makes it easier for hackers to launch denial of service attacks to infiltrate a company’s systems. And the attacks are getting much bigger, including one earlier this year that was running at up to 1.8Tbps.

“There are very few organizations out there, if any, that can withstand that kind of attack,” Willett said. “They have to have some kind of help when it’s a volumetric attack.”

Another startling development is the ease with which cyber criminals can get their hands on botnets to create havoc. It used to be that hackers needed a certain level of expertise and infrastructure to launch a DDoS attack, but these days they can simply be rented online using a credit card — and for a relatively small sum.

“Within five minutes, you can be sending a denial of service attack to any organization in the world,” Willett said. “The sale of ransomware and malware code, and the ability to rent botnets, has made it easier for people with bad intentions because they no longer need to have (coding) skills and do it all  from scratch.”

To see the entire interview with James and the hosts of IT Chronicles, click here to be taken to the YouTube video.

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