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Modern Adversaries Why modern hackers are winning the battle and how we can still win the war Andy Manoske, Principal
Who is Amplify Partners? We are an early stage, entrepreneur-focused venture capital ﬁrm investing in technical teams solving technical problems www.amplifypartners.com @AmplifyPartners
About the Author Andy Manoske Principal, Amplify Partners Product @ AlienVault (Open Threat Exchange, AlienVault Labs Research) Product @ NetApp (Product Security, Cryptography) Economics & Computer Science @ SJSU (Mathematic Economics, Information Security) @a2d2
Successful cyberattacks are on the rise… Cyberattack Reports to US-CERT by Year 70000 52500 35000 17500 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Source: US CERT
…because we are facing more sophisticated attackers Source: Verizon DBIR 2014
The modern hacker is an advanced adversary… but not necessarily because it’s better than previous generations of attackers. (Sorry, Neo)
Instead, modern hacking tools are more advanced and more available than ever before Source: Axiomatic Design/Design Patterns Mashup: Part 2 (Cyber Security)
These tools make even novice modern hackers…. …incredibly dangerous
Modern adversaries are able to strike highly defended targets because hacking tools have advanced faster than security systems that detect and stop attacks
Anthem was well defended 200 person Information Security Staff $50 Million spent on security per year Source: Indianapolis Business Journal
But they were not prepared for their adversary’s complex attack >12 Months Access to sensitive user data 80 Million Records stolen Source: Crowdstrike, NYT
To build new security systems that can defend against complex attacks We need to build software that can detect, and stop, modern tools used by modern adversaries
Who are Modern Adversaries?
The modern hacker is frequently a professional …who attacks private businesses for ﬁnancial gain Source: Hackmageddon
Most modern attacks target companies to steal valuable data: most frequently ﬁnancial data or intellectual property. Source: Hackmageddon
Hackers then sell this stolen data on the black market Reported PII theft and fraud, 2006-2014 and that data is used increasingly to commit identity theft, espionage, and possibly even acts of terrorism.
Not every cyberattack is focused on proﬁt. Defacing or destroying online property remains a key objective for many advanced adversaries
There are typically three types of modern adversary Reported PII theft and fraud, 2006-2014 State Sponsored Hackers Organized Crime Hacktivists
State Sponsored Adversary: Energetic Bear / Dragonﬂy Reported PII theft and fraud, 2006-2014 Russian hacking group either supported or directly managed by Russian state intelligence ● Unpublicized attack on petroleum pipeline operator to steal energy infrastructure information ● Unpublicized Industrial Control System (ICS) sabotage of EU-based energy management operator to cause future attacks and outages
Organized Crime Adversary: Solntsevskaya Bratva Reported PII theft and fraud, 2006-2014 Largest crime syndicate of the Russian mob heavily involved in cybercrime, with >$3B in annual revenue from hacking ● 2014 JP Morgan Chase data breach targeting wealth management and credit card user data ● 2008 cyberattacks to spread disinformation on Georgian government websites during Russia’s invasion of South Ossetia
Hacktivist Adversary: AntiSec Reported PII theft and fraud, 2006-2014 Anarchist campaign of former members of hacking group Lulzsec and members of the Anonymous community. ● 2014 data breach of the US International Association of Chiefs of Police to leak personnel data in response to investigations on Occupy Wall Street protestors. ● 2011 compromise of Fox News’ Twitter account to spread fake story that President Obama had been injured in a Terrorist bombing.
Most attacks are being perpetrated by organized crime hackers and hacktivists Source: Hackmageddon
Which means most attacks are from less individually sophisticated adversaries… Attacker Sophistication State Sponsored Hacking Organized Crime Hacktivists Attacker Resources
…who employ less sophisticated attacks… …reliant upon pre-made tools and malware
To confront the majority of attacks from advanced adversaries We must detect and stop modern hacking tools
Unfortunately, modern hacking tools and malware are good at evading detection Encryption Modern malware is frequently encrypted to defeat signature-based intrusion detection systems Botnets Modern hacking tools and malware hide behind legions of slaved “zombie” computers
But while botnets and encryption may hide most tools and malware The command and control (or “C2”) structure behind those tools generally remains the same Source: Cisco
Example: Attackers who struck the US Ofﬁce of Personnel Management (OPM) used the same C2 server… Source: AlienVault
…that was used to attack as well as several US companies in… Defense Aviation Oil and Gas Infrastructure Source: AlienVault, Symantec
There is a lot of things the security industry can do to confront modern threats…
…but if we want to stop most attacks from advanced adversaries we need to build software that PERFORMS DYNAMIC ANALYSIS Introspects incoming ﬁles and trafﬁc for possible C2 infrastructure SHARES DATA ON ATTACKERS Automatically shares analysis data to open-source platforms to be used in security defenses
TL;DR A new generation of modern adversaries is driving a hacking boom This generation has access to powerful, easy to use hacking tools If we do not rethink our approach and update our security systems, the advantage enjoyed by modern adversaries will continue to grow