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BlackBerry Reports 1 Million Attacks on Global Financial Sector in 120 Days

BlackBerry Limited released its latest Global Threat Intelligence Report, revealing threat actors focusing efforts on targeting high-value data held by the global financial sector, with one million attacks logged over the 120 day period. This “death by a million cuts” is revealed to be using mainly commodity malware, which indicates a large number of independent actors targeting the industry in pursuit of financial gain. Critical infrastructure attacks, including those targeting government, financial, healthcare and communications industries, altogether accounted for 62 percent of industry-related attacks over the report period, September to December 2023.

The BlackBerry Threat Research and Intelligence team registered a 27 percent uptick in novel malware to 3.7 new malicious samples per minute prevented by its AI-powered cybersecurity solutions, compared to 2.9 per minute in the previous reporting period. Overall, BlackBerry® cybersecurity solutions stopped 31 attacks every minute, a 19 percent increase on the last reporting period.

“We’re consistently seeing increased volumes of attack in highly lucrative industries using novel malware,” said Ismael Valenzuela, Vice President of Threat Research and Intelligence at BlackBerry. “Novel malware typically indicates specific motivations from threat actors towards particular attack targets with intent to evade defenses, which are often based on static signatures. We’ve reached a pivotal point where traditional detection methods alone are not enough to combat this increasingly complex problem. AI is already being weaponized by malicious entities, so it must equally be the dominant tool for detection and defense.”

Highlights from the latest BlackBerry Global Threat Intelligence Report include:

• 62 percent of industry-related attacks targeted critical industries: Digitization and the prospect of debilitating national infrastructure attracted notorious gangs and Malware-as-a-Service (MaaS) groups who attempt to exploit security misconfigurations and vulnerabilities for varying motives.

• Commercial enterprises also under attack: 33 percent of all threats targeted commercial enterprises (including retail, manufacturing, automotive and professional services), with the majority (53 percent) of those deploying information-stealing (Infostealer) malware with the aim of accessing highly sensitive data.

• Rapid weaponization of CVEs by Threat Actors: Ransomware gangs observed taking advantage of new Zero Day vulnerabilities and mass mobilizing against potentially vulnerable targets, with zero-day exploits motivating profiteer groups.

Based on its data analysis, the BlackBerry Threat Intelligence and Research team predicts that 2024 will bring an increase in attacks targeting critical infrastructure and other profitable segments. VPN appliances will likely remain desirable targets for nation-state-level threat actors and it is anticipated that there will be a continued increase in supply chain cyberattacks targeting hardware and software vulnerabilities. Further, APAC will likely see an increase in attacks from China and North Korea, particularly financially-motivated attacks.

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