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Malware and botnets: Why Emotet is dominating the malicious threat landscape in 2019

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Phishing attacks are on the rise
ZDNet’s Danny Palmer sits down with TechRepublic’s Karen Roby to discuss the rising number of phishing attacks and preventative measures you need to be taking. Read more: https://zd.net/2C6rIVO

Emotet accounts for almost two-thirds of payloads delivered by email during the start of 2019, as the malware continues to plague businesses and individuals around the world.

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While it started life as a banking trojan, Emotet has evolved into more of a botnet, with its criminal operators leasing out loading capabilities and allowing other cyber attackers to deliver their own malware to victims as a secondary payload.

Such is the power of Emotet that analysis by security company Proofpoint has found that the malware accounted for almost all of the botnet payloads delivered by email between January and March 2019 – and botnets accounted for 61% of all malicious payloads sent in phishing messages during that period.

SEE: A winning strategy for cybersecurity (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

The reclassification of Emotet as a botnet – a type of malware that secretly takes hold of a large network of machines and can be exploited to perform malicious tasks without the victim being aware – has seen botnets rise to become the most common malicious threat delivered in email-based attacks.

As a result, malicious phishing emails delivering banking Trojans account for just one in five email attacks, down from over half at the end of last year – although with the number of Trojans being delivered in second-stage attacks by botnets, the threat of these data-harvesting malware attacks remains as dangerous as ever.

Outside of banking Trojans and botnets, the remainder of threats delivered by email includes credential harvesters, remote access Trojans, ransomware, and keyloggers.

But it’s Emotet which has become the most prolific form of malware delivered by emails, thanks in part to its stealthy and flexible nature – which can then be piggybacked on by other malicious campaigns.

“Emotet, by its nature, is modular and flexible and, in addition to supporting spreading via networks, now comprises a sufficiently large botnet to be able to regularly distribute massive campaigns allowing it to spread further via email,” Chris Dawson, threat intelligence lead at Proofpoint told ZDNet.

“The group behind Emotet are adept at localization and frequently distribute large-scale campaigns in a range of geographies, languages, etc., increasing their global footprint,” he added.

The spread of Emotet is driven by malicious URLs in phishing emails: analysis by researchers suggests that the number of threats delivered my malicious URLs outnumbers those delivered by malicious attachments by five to one.

SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

Dawson believes that a rise in malicious URLs being used to delivered malware could be down to cyber criminals taking advantage of users increasingly trusting cloud and web-based services.

“While we have long been trained not to open attachments from unknown senders, increasing use of file-sharing services and web-based applications means that individuals often click through links with less hesitation,” he said.

“Similarly, those links can leverage legitimate file-sharing services with their attendant familiar domains, can use lookalike domains, or can have the URL masked in text, making it harder to recognize potentially malicious content”.

In order to combat the threats posed by Emotet and other malicious payloads delivered by social engineering, Proofpoint researchers recommend that security teams assume that users will click and build up a defence policy from there. However, if the emails can be prevented from reaching inboxes in the first place, they’re far less likely to cause damage.

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Key Criteria for Evaluating Unified Endpoint Management

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Endpoint management is one of the most significant challenges in the enterprise today. An increasingly large percentage of our workforce is distributed and demands flexibility to work wherever they want, whenever they want. We must respond by giving them access to the services they require to do their jobs effectively. The alternative is that we, as a business, will suffer, lose good people, and become less competitive. However, we must achieve this essential access while maintaining security and control of our business’s data assets.

An appropriate endpoint management strategy is key to addressing these issues. Our approach should be holistic and unified, bringing together control of devices, management of applications, security of data, and access controls.

Unified endpoint management (UEM) is the approach to meeting this challenge. It has evolved from traditionally disparate solutions for endpoint management, application delivery, and security into a single platform. This single platform delivers a consistent end-user experience across all devices, applications, and locations while maintaining security and control of data assets. The leading solutions allow us to enroll devices easily into our control, provide support, and ensure constituency and compliance while managing access to our applications and data.

This GigaOM Key Criteria Report describes UEM solutions and identifies key criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting such a solution. The corresponding GigaOm Radar Report identifies vendors and products that excel in this sector. Together, these reports give decision-makers an overview of the market to help them evaluate existing platforms and decide where to invest.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

The post Key Criteria for Evaluating Unified Endpoint Management appeared first on Gigaom.

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Data Storage for Ever Changing Business Needs

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Join GigaOm analyst Enrico Signoretti and CTERA CTO Aron Brand in this one-hour live webinar as they explore file storage trends and dynamics through the lens of IT infrastructure modernization projects.

The file and cloud experts will discuss the limitations of traditional NAS architectures in today’s corporate environments and how organizations are implementing distributed cloud file storage to solve remote collaboration, ransomware protection, and unstructured data growth challenges.

Signoretti and Brand will also examine the recently published GigaOm Radar for Distributed Cloud File Storage, in which CTERA was named the leader. They will review the report’s key criteria and evaluation metrics for choosing a distributed cloud file storage platform, helping IT leaders to understand which vendors are most aligned to their needs today as well as 12-18 months down the road.

The post Data Storage for Ever Changing Business Needs appeared first on Gigaom.

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High Performance Application Security Testing – Cloud WAF Security Platforms

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research features analyst Jake Dolezal and will focus on comparing Web Application Firewall (WAF) security platforms in an enterprise with high performance needs.

This webinar will discuss web application security mechanisms deployed in the cloud. The cloud enables enterprises to differentiate and innovate with microservices at a rapid pace. However, the cloud is just as vulnerable, if not more so, to attacks and breaches as on-premises APIs and apps are. Our focus is specifically on approaches to securing apps, APIs, and microservices that are tuned for high performance and availability. We define “high performance” as companies that experience workloads of more than 1,000 transactions per second (tps) and require a maximum latency below 30 milliseconds across the landscape.

In this webinar, we will reveal the performance tests of security mechanisms on NGINX, AWS, and Azure, specifically: ModSecurity, NGINX App Protect WAF, AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF), and Azure WAF.

Register now to join GigaOm and NGINX for this free expert webinar.

The post High Performance Application Security Testing – Cloud WAF Security Platforms appeared first on Gigaom.

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