CrowdStrike report shows identities under siege

Cyberattacks exploiting gaps in cloud infrastructure — to steal credentials, identities and data — skyrocketed in 2022, growing 95%, with cases involving “cloud-conscious” threat actors tripling year-over-year. That’s according to CrowdStrike’s 2023 Global Threat Report.

The report finds bad actors moving away from deactivation of antivirus and firewall technologies, and from log-tampering efforts, seeking instead to “modify authentication processes and attack identities,” it concludes.

Today, identities are under siege across a vast threatscape. Why are identities and privileged access credentials the primary targets? It’s because attackers want to become access brokers and sell pilfered information in bulk at high prices on the dark web.

CrowdStrike’s report provides a sobering look at how quickly attackers are reinventing themselves as access brokers, and how their ranks are growing. The report found a 20% increase in the number of adversaries pursuing cloud data theft and extortion campaigns, and the largest-ever increase in numbers of adversaries — 33 new ones found in just a year. Prolific Scattered Spider and Slippery Spider attackers are behind many recent high-profile attacks on telecommunications, BPO and technology companies.

Attacks are setting new speed records

Attackers are digitally transforming themselves faster than enterprises can keep up, quickly re-weaponizing and re-exploiting vulnerabilities. CrowdStrike found threat actors circumventing patches and sidestepping mitigations throughout the year.

The report states that “the CrowdStrikeFalcon OverWatch team measures breakout time — the time an adversary takes to move laterally, from an initially compromised host to another host within the victim environment. The average breakout time for interactive eCrime intrusion activity declined from 98 minutes in 2021 to 84 minutes in 2022.”

CISOs and their teams need to respond more quickly, as the breakout time window shortens, to minimize costs and ancillary damages caused by attackers. CrowdStrikes advises security teams to meet the 1-10-60 rule: detecting threats within the first minute, understanding the threats within 10 minutes, and responding within 60 minutes…

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