Data hijacking is the most common form of cyber attacks in Latin America: how to avoid it

Cyber ​​attack. (photo: SDR Mexico)

IBM Security has published its annual report XForce Threat Intelligence Index showing how the ransomware, corporate email and credential theft they may have “captured” Latin American companies in 2021.

Although the phishing was the most common cause of cyber attacks across the region over the past year, IBM Security XForce has seen a rise in attacks triggered by stolen credentials, a vision on which the actors have relied more to carry out their attacks in 2021, representing 29% of cyberattacks in the region.

“The IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2022 identifies new attack trends and patterns that IBM Security has observed and analyzed from its data, drawn from billions of datapoints ranging from network detection devices and endpoints, incident response actions, phishing kit tracking and more, including data provided by Intezer. Charles HendersonLeader of IBM X-Force.

Main findings of the report in 2022

1. Ransomware gangs defy defenses

Ransomware remains the number one attack method seen in 2021, globally and in Latin Americaaccounting for 29% of attacks in Latin America, and ransomware groups show no signs of stopping, despite ramping up defense against ransomware.

According to the 2022 report, the average useful life of a group before closing or rebranding is 17 months. REvil was the most common type of ransomware, accounting for 50% of the attacks XForce detected.

2. Warning signs of a cloud crisis

The cyber criminals are setting the stage for attacking cloud environments, with reports revealing a 146% increase in new ransomware from Linux and Docker’s shift in focus to global targeting, which could make it easier for more malicious actors to exploit the cloud environment for malicious purposes.

The malware it is cross-platform and can be used as a single step for other components of the victim infrastructure.

3. Corporate email compromise (BEC) attacks have a new target

The proportion of BEC attacks targeting Latin America is higher than any other geographic region in the world, with a strong increase from 0% in 2019 to 21% in 2021, which shows that BEC attackers pay more attention to targeting Latin American institutions.

According to the report, BEC is the second most common attack in the region.

4. Vulnerabilities continue to grow

The XForce report highlights a record number of vulnerabilities disclosed in 2021, showing that the challenge of managing them remains.

For companies in the region, unpatched or “patched” vulnerabilities accounted for around 18% of attacks in 2021, which demonstrates the biggest problem for companies: patching vulnerabilities.

5. Manufacturing, the backbone of the supply chain, is becoming the most vulnerable

In Latin America, the manufacturing industry (22%) is the most attacked industry in 2021, reflecting global trends, as lCybercriminals take advantage of the key role that manufacturing companies play in the global supply chain to pressure victims into paying ransom.

The wholesale and retail sector (20%) and the financial and insurance sector (15%), followed by the manufacturing sector, are the most affected sectors in Latin America.

“Cybercriminals are often after the money, now with ransomware, they have the upper hand,” Henderson explained and added “Enterprises need to recognize that vulnerabilities are keeping them in a lockdown, as ransomware actors use that to their advantage. This is a non-binary challenge. The attack surface is getting larger, so instead of operating under the assumption that every vulnerability in their environment has been patched or fixed, companies should operate under the assumption that they are compromised, and improve their vulnerability management. vulnerability with a zero trust strategy”.

The best way to protect yourself is to constantly change your passwords, be careful with what is published on social networks and if you become a victim, it is best not to pay the bribe because in many cases the hijacked information is not returned.

An expert hacker in cybersecurity checks some codes on his computer.  EFE/ Oskar Burgos/File
An expert hacker in cybersecurity checks some codes on his computer. EFE/ Oskar Burgos/File (Oskar Burgos/)

Other report findings in 2022

– The first caller is likely a scam a long time ago

Phishing is the most common cause of cyber attacks in 2021 globally and represents 47% attacks remediated by XForce in Latin America.

In XForce Red penetration tests, the click rate of phishing campaigns tripled when combined with subsequent phone calls to his victims.

– Most attacked countries in the region

Latin America sees a 4% increase in cyber attacks in 2021 compared to the previous year, and the report reveals that in 2021, Brazil, Mexico and Peru are the most attacked countries in the region.

The report features data that IBM has collected around the world in 2021 to provide insights into the global threat landscape and Inform security professionals about the threats most relevant to your organization.

For reporting purposes, IBM considers Latin America to include Mexico, Central America, and South America.


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