IBM X-Force Research Team Releases the Threat Index for 2019

As technology continues to evolve, so do cybercrimes and related fraudulent activities. And as these criminal activities continue to rise, security agencies and other teams saddled with the responsibility of fighting these criminals are actively discovering newer and more efficient means of detecting and preventing such attacks.

One of such teams is the IBM X-Force Research team, which is focused on cracking security breaches. They monitor tens of millions of spam and phishing attacks every day. The IBM X-Force Research team is especially known for analyzing billions of web pages and images to fish out suspicious and fraudulent activities on the web.

As part of their fight against cybercrimes, the Research team released the firm’s Threat Index for the year 2019. The report is aimed at highlighting notable security events that took place last year. The report also shine some light into the future through carefully analyzed data from millions of servers across the globe.

Some of the findings by the research team include:

Cryptojacking beats Ransomware and Malware to the number position in the list of cyber crimes

Before now, ransomware and malware infection was known as the most prominent avenue of siphoning cash from large organizations by cybercriminals. That does not hold true anymore as cryptojacking topped the list last year. The Research team found that whereas ransomware and malware activities plunged down by 45%, cryptojacking spiked to as high as 450% from the first quarter of 2018 through the last quarter. Also, cybercriminals were focused more on abusing operating system tools rather than malware.

Misconfiguration is still on the rise

Although the number of records compromised due to misconfiguration declined by about 52%, the team found that misconfiguration is still plaguing organizations. In fact, research shows that this threat vector increases by 20% every year.

Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams still the paying off for cybercriminals

Cybercriminals are notoriously known for using BEC scams. And the research shows that the trend does not seem to decline at all. Instead, phishing campaigns via BEC scams accounted for 45% of the phishing attacks tracked by the IBM X-Force team.

Most-attacked industries in 2018

Occupying the number one position of the most-attacked industries last year are the finance and insurance industries. Findings by the team show that both industries accounted for 19% of the total attacks recorded in 2018.

Following closely behind is the transportation industry which initially ranked as 10th in 2017.

Vulnerability reporting on the rise

Lastly, the IBM X-Force Research team found that vulnerability reporting is increasing by the day. They discovered that about one third of all vulnerabilities tracked by the team were reported in the past three years only.

Commenting on the rate of cybercrimes in 2018, Caleb Barlow, the Vice President of Security at the IBM X-Force Research team, expressed surprise over the untamed increase of cybercrimes despite the relentless efforts put by regulatory bodies and the trust economy.