The last couple of years have been tough for businesses in terms of cyber security, but at the beginning of 2018 things were looking much better. A mid-year update revealed that global ransomware attacks were down when compared the same time last year, but the second half of this year had a wildly different pattern. According to a recent report about cyber crime tactics and techniques, cyber attacks such as ransomware, banking trojans, cryptominers and exploit kits rapidly increased in the third quarter of 2018. Overall, the report discovered an increase of 1.7 million more cyber crime detections in Q3 than in Q2.

The report also noted that businesses have become the front runner in terms of being targeted for cyber attacks, with detections of cyber crimes against them increasing by 55 percent, while cyber crimes against consumers only increased by 4 percent. It’s clear that cyber criminals are focusing on businesses in an effort to get more data and money out of each planned attack. Financial institutions, e-commerce businesses and healthcare organizations are top targets, likely due to the large amounts of data and assets cyber criminals can access in an attack.

A few other changes were noted in the above-mentioned report as well, including a major increase in one type of cyber attack and a surprising decrease in another type. Below, we’ll look at the top trends in cyber attacks for the end of 2018 and explore what the next wave of breaches may look like.

Banking Trojans

A “banking trojan” is a malicious form of a trojan horse computer program that is designed to give the creator access to confidential information stored or processed through online banking systems. A banking trojan is typically disguised as a legitimate piece of software in order to trick the victim into installing it onto their device. This type of cyber attack increased so significantly in Q3 (86% up from Q2) that it took the number one spot for cyber attacks against both businesses and consumers.

Ransomware

Ransomware fell to the number two spot, but that does not make this type of cyber attack any less threatening to businesses or consumers. According to the report, there were 40 new variants of ransomware programs in Q3, resulting in an 88% increase in detections from the previous quarter.

Exploit Kits

An exploit kit is an automated type of cyber threat that utilizes compromised websites to divert web traffic, scan for vulnerable applications and run malware. Exploit kits also saw a jump in Q3, expanding into multiple countries, but mainly targeting Asia for now. Because exploit kits offer a more passive approach for hackers, they have the ability to grow rapidly in frequency and expand into more countries.

Cryptojacking

One type of cyber attack actually saw a decrease in frequency, but not in effectiveness. Cryptomining detections decreased by 26% in Q3 according to the cyber crime report, but cryptominers appear to have become more sophisticated in their approach. In a move that has come to be known as “cryptojacking,” routers throughout the world are hijacked and infected with malware to steal computer resources and discreetly mine for cryptocurrency.

Cyber attacks are a continuously evolving threat against both businesses and consumers that isn’t going away anytime soon. Insurance agents can help their clients protect themselves against cyber attacks by sharing news about cyber security trends and emphasizing the importance of cyber liability insurance as part of a comprehensive business insurance plan.

 

About Highland Risk Services

At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois and Phoenix, Arizona, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.