Symantec: Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) Vol. 22

Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report: Volume 22


Some of the highlights from the Symantec Report include:

  • The use of zero-day exploits and sophisticated malware is decreasing as malevolent actors are now focusing on traditional spear-phishing attacks and leveraging existing tools (e.g. built-in OS commands/utilities)
  • Nation-States and targeted disruptive attacks:
    • Symantec points to the DNC hack and the subsequent leaks, which were arguably attributed to Russia, as well as the use of disk-wiping malware which caused widespread power outages in Ukraine in December 2015 and again in January of 2017 (these also were attributed to Russia)
    • the Shamoon disk-wiping Trojan also reappeared after a four-year hiatus and was used against multiple entities within Saudi Arabia (the original 2012 variant of this was attributed to Iran)
    • However, on a positive note, following the 2015 agreement between the US and China, economic espionage attributed to China appears to have significantly decreased
  • Financial Attackers are upping the ante.  Cyber criminals previously focused on volume to provide financial gain; however, large financial institutions find themselves back in the cross-hairs as a single big score can reap enormous financial rewards.
    • The Banswift group infiltrated the Bangladesh Central Bank and managed to exfiltrate SWIFT credentials which allowed the group to initiate fraudulent transactions that exceeded $80M
    • Another group, Odinaff, used malware to mask user messages related to SWIFT transactions which allowed them to manipulate SWIFT transactions without immediate user detection
    • However, spear-phishing campaigns continue to persist and over the last three years have resulted in the theft of over $3BN
  • Email re-emerges as the favored medium for attacks
    • Symantec reports that from Nation-state activities, to mass-mailing ransomware, the ratio of malicious emails to legitimate emails is the highest it has been in over five years
    • This is a bit troubling as it indicates that user ignorance or indifference continues to enable costly and disruptive attacks both on individuals and entities
  • Ransomware: this has received copious news coverage over the last several months.  Ransomware attacks continue to hit individuals as well as businesses and the average ransom amount has risen over 300% from 2015 to 2016
  • The Internet of Things (IoT): further evidence that market-driven economics is unlikely to ever result in secure products (at least not with the current crop of disinterested users), the Mirai botnet was able conduct the largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack ever effectuated


Tags: ,

One Response to “Symantec: Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) Vol. 22”

  1. […] Security Newsfeeds > CERT-LatestNews > Symantec: Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) Vol. 22 […]

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Untitled Document
Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. She is the 2018-9 Editor in Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, as well as a member of the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

Anna Maria Castillois 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography