Hard-to-Detect Cybercrime Bots Target Young and Old

April 2, 2021

A recent report from research firm LexisNexis emphasizes bad actors’ growing reliance on bots to pull off their attacks. Not only that, these bots are becoming harder to catch. As TechBullion states, “Cybercrime Report Highlights the Need for Greater Security Visibility.” Reporter Oren Rofman writes:

“While hacks and attacks primarily driven by humans tend to be more sophisticated, bot attacks are not much easier to detect and remediate. Former Akamai security expert Ido Safruti, who is now CTO at PerimeterX, describes new bot attacks as invisible invaders that are becoming more difficult to detect. … Having evolved over the decades, these attacks have become more sophisticated than ever. While previous bots can be detected because of their inability to perform tasks humans are expected to do easily, advanced bots are now capable of doing complex actions and can even interact with humans. They can latch onto host users like parasites and perform actions that make them appear as human users.”

Since bot attacks tend to infect multiple devices, IP blacklists do little against them. Application firewalls and similar defenses are also ineffective because attacks successfully mimic legitimate users. Instead, we’re advised, companies must boost their security visibility so they can react to threats promptly. Rofman suggests continuous security validation as an effective approach. He writes:

“This entails the use of multiple strategies including behavioral detection solutions, SIEM/SOC validation, full-kill chain APT simulation, and purple team automation. The creation of the MITRE ATT&CK framework also helps in dealing with the most recent bot attacks, as it provides comprehensive and up-to-date threat intelligence along with detailed descriptions and information on attack patterns and processes. Many security solutions already integrate ATT&CK in their systems.”

Another important, though perhaps obvious, point is the role age plays in user vulnerability—those over 75 are more likely to fall victim because they are less familiar with technology in general. Those under 25, on the other hand, are profitable targets due to their lack of experience and tendency to forgo security best practices. The report also found that mobile e-commerce transactions are especially vulnerable, and that streaming media has opened new opportunities for hackers. One thing is clear—the problem of cybercrime is only getting worse, and users of all ages need to learn, and follow, security best practices.

Cynthia Murrell, April 2, 2021


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