A few years ago, distributed denial-of-service attacks by hacktivists were gaining widespread media attention. Since then however, hacktivists have turned to other means to get their points across, from hijacking social media accounts such as Twitter to SQL injection and cross-site scripting.
With this in mind, researchers at Dell SecureWorks advise companies to take note of the changing threat landscape as they plan their defense.
“Unfortunately, in today’s attack climate, if you are an organization which is likely to be a target of hacktivism and you do not have an intelligence team monitoring the Internet on your behalf, you have to be prepared for far more than just one attack strategy,” said Rick Hayes, Sr. Manager, Security and Risk Consulting for Dell SecureWorks, in a statement.
“The cyber campaigns being launched by hacktivists today aren’t merely consisting of a denial-of-service or distributed denial-of-service attacks…But rather, we are seeing hackers launch a barrage of different cyber-attacks at their target including everything from DDoS attacks to website defacements, web application attacks, and spear phishing attacks looking to steal valuable customer and employee data to the hijacking of corporate Twitter credentials,” he said.
In a blog post, the company offered a number of suggestions for improving defenses, from avoiding malicious tweets to regularly scanning web applications for vulnerabilities and implementing a bogus IP address block list at the network boundary to drop bogus IP traffic and mitigate DDoS attacks. More advice can be found here.
“Although we continue to see cases where hackers are breaking into organizations by entering through their vulnerable web applications, the good news is we are seeing an uptick from small and medium businesses asking for our Web Application Scanning Service,” Hayes said. “I believe they have learned from some of the large and expensive public breaches, which have been a result of web application attacks, that it is cheaper in the long run to employ regular scanning of one’s web applications and fix the vulnerabilities immediately so as to keep one’s assets secure.”