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Research finds rates of reconnaissance, lateral movement, and exfiltration detections increased by over 265 per cent

Today at InfoSecurity Europe, Vectra Networks, the leader in automating the hunt for in-progress cyber attacks, announced the results of its Post-Intrusion Report, outlining key cybersecurity trends from Q1 2017. The research is based on data from a sample set of nearly 200 opt-in Vectra enterprise customers, looking at the prevalence of command-and-control (C&C), reconnaissance, lateral movement, and exfiltration attacker behaviours across thirteen industries.

Vectra discovered healthcare to be the most frequently targeted industry, with 164 threats detected per 1,000 host devices, followed by education and media, which had 145 and 123 detections per 1,000 host devices, respectively. By comparison, the food and beverage industry came in as the least targeted industry with just 17 detections per 1,000 hosts.

Additional findings include:

  • Attack rates are increasing across the board: The average number of reconnaissance, lateral movement and exfiltration detections have all increased, by more than 265 per cent
  • Hackers want what the media has: Media organisations experienced the highest rates of exfiltration, with 34 detections per 1,000 host devices. The industry’s high rates of exfiltration attempts can likely be attributed to its decentralised supply chain made up of small businesses with limited IT staff
  • Entertainment experiences the most diverse attacks: The entertainment industry experienced above-average rates of the five attack behaviours measured. Only the food and beverage industry experienced below-average detections for all activity measured
  • Setting the stage for WannaCry: Reconnaissance detections were up by 333 per cent when compared to 2016. Internal reconnaissance is a necessary first step for ransomware campaigns. The sharp increase in reconnaissance detections may be an early indicator of the recent rise of attacks such as WannaCry
  • Finance and technology prove most resilient: These industries have below-average detection rates, with 37 and 38 detections per 1,000 hosts, respectively. This indicates the presence of stronger policies, mature response capabilities, and better control of the attack surface 
  • Automated detection frees up valuable workers: Vectra customers achieved a 29x workload reduction for Tier-1 security analysts in detection, triage, correlation and prioritisation of security incidents, enabling them to focus on remediating compromised hosts that pose the highest risk

The data in the Post-Intrusion Report is based on anonymised metadata from Vectra customers who have opted to share detection metrics. Over 90 days, Vectra monitored 2,145,708 hosts. On these hosts, Vectra detected 1,805,188 different network behaviours that were condensed to 140,341 detections. These detections were then triaged down to 62,119 hosts, with 10,710 hosts prioritised as high or critical business risk.

If you are interested in learning more about Vectra’s findings, you can download the full Post-Intrusion Report here, or talk in person with a Vectra cybersecurity expert at Stand E225 at Infosecurity Europe in London or Booth 809 at the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in National Harbor, Md.

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