More cyber criminals seeking to monetize attacks, report finds

A report released by a cybersecurity firm on Tuesday found that cyber criminals are getting more creative and brazen in their attempts to enter businesses’ networks and make money off their attacks.

Researchers at CrowdStrike found that the most common kinds of cyberattacks on firms that work with the vendor were monetary attacks, at 47 percent.

“CrowdStrike encountered attackers gaining more power and insight into the systems of their victims through the use of remote access tools that deliver real-time monitoring capabilities,” the report reads. “This has enabled attackers to move beyond reading emails ... to being able to watch the email being written and sent.”

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The researchers also found that the percentage of firms that have been able to detect cyber actors in their networks has risen to 75 percent, up from 68 percent in 2017.

However, CrowdStrike notes that threat actors who are able to penetrate networks generally remain there for an extended period of time before they’re detected, spending an average of 85 days in the systems.

“Clearly, there is considerable room for improvement,” the report states. “Boards of directors, executive management, and the public at large are all rightly concerned that organizations take days, weeks, or even months to detect attacks.”

The researchers also determined that in particular, nation-state actors are effective in not just quickly entering networks but getting into the systems deeply, “demonstrating patience and resourcefulness as they search for high-value data in the targeted organization.”

Tuesday's report echoes findings by other security firms that point to hackers increasingly mining for cryptocurrency. Nation-state actors like those from North Korea will often launch cyberattacks to try and obtain the digital currency.