Top three internet security threats analysed

Wednesday, 15 June, 2022

Top three internet security threats analysed

Akamai Technologies has released three new research reports that offer an in-depth focus on what the company says are the most critical areas of web security: ransomware, web applications and APIs, and DNS traffic.

Analysing trillions of data points across its multiple platforms, the research team uncovered new findings on threat actor behaviour via popular attack traffic and techniques.

The three reports link the most prominent security trends and paint an accurate map of the modern attack landscape. An up-to-date analysis of ransomware attack trends highlights the risks and suggests mitigation, while an analysis of Web app and API attack trends offers a fresh look at the infection vectors used by ransomware operators and others. An analysis of DNS complements the reports with a view of overall attacks analysed via one of the internet’s most foundational technologies.

Authored by Akamai’s team of cybersecurity experts, the analysis centres on attack trends and techniques as well as solutions to solve today’s most pressing cybersecurity issues.

Akamai Ransomware Threat report

With the rise of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) attacks, including from the Conti ransomware gang, Akamai analysed and discovered the most recent and effective components of ransomware attackers’ methodologies, tools and techniques. Key findings include:

  • 60% of successful Conti attacks were conducted on United States companies, while 30% occurred in the European Union.
  • An analysis of the industries attacked highlights the risk of supply chain disruption, critical infrastructure impact, and supply chain cyber attacks.
  • Most successful Conti attacks target businesses with $10–250 million in revenue, indicating a ‘Goldilocks’ range of successful attack targets among medium and small businesses.
  • The gang’s tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) are well known, but highly effective — a sobering reminder of the arsenal that is at the disposal of other hackers, but also that these attacks can be prevented with the right mitigation.
  • Conti’s emphasis in their documentation on hacking and hands-on propagation, rather than encryption, should drive network defenders to focus on those parts of the kill chain as well, instead of focusing on the encryption phase.

Akamai Web Application & API Threat report

Through the first half of 2022, Akamai observed significant increases in web application and API attacks across the globe, with more than nine billion attack attempts to date. Details for each of the company’s key observations are as follows:

  • Web application attack attempts against customers grew by more than 300% year over year in H1, the largest increase Akamai has ever observed.
  • LFI attacks now surpass SQLi attacks as the most predominant WAAP attack vector, increasing by nearly 400% year over year.
  • Commerce is the most impacted vertical, accounting for 38% of recent attack activity, while technology has seen the most growth so far in 2022.

Akamai DNS Traffic Insights Threat report

Analysing more than 7 trillion DNS queries per day and proactively identifying and blocking threats, including malware, ransomware phishing, and botnet, Akamai researchers found:

  • More than one of 10 monitored devices communicated at least once to domains associated with malware, ransomware, phishing or command and control (C2).
  • Phishing traffic showed that most victims were targeted by scams that abused and mimicked technology and financial brands, which affected 31% and 32% of the victims, respectively.
  • According to research that analysed more than 10,000 malicious JavaScript samples — representing threats like malware droppers, phishing pages, scammers and cryptominers’ malware — at least 25% of the examined samples used JavaScript obfuscation techniques to evade detection.

Further information is available on the company's security blog page here.

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