Accenture Report: First Half of 2017 Saw Increased Use of Deception Tactics, Rise in Ransomware

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A new report from Accenture’s security business has found that organizations have experienced a rise in ransomware attacks and use of phishing campaigns and deception tactics such as steganography, anti-analysis code and command-and-control servers during the first half of 2017.

The 2017 Cyber Threatscape Report is based on research and analysis conducted by Accenture Security’s iDefense unit on key cybersecurity trends during the first six months of this year through the use of open-source materials, Accenture said Tuesday.

“The first six months of 2017 have seen an evolution of ransomware producing more viral variants unleashed by potential state-sponsored actors and cybercriminals,” said Josh Ray, managing director at Accenture Security.

“Our findings confirm that a new bar has been set for cybersecurity teams across all industries to defend their assets in the coming months.”

The study also found that cyber criminals have begun to use alternative cryptocurrencies or adopt bitcoin laundering schemes to conceal transactions, while state-sponsored threat actors may continue to conduct espionage activities in response to military exercises and economic sanctions.

The first half of 2017 also saw an increase in distributed denial of service-for-hire services.

Accenture Security cited several components that companies should integrate into their business continuity plans and one of them is to identify phishing scams through awareness and prevention training initiatives.

Organizations should consider adoption of an email analytics platform in the cloud, authentication tools and spam filters; update and test cyber resilience plans; and impose administration rights restrictions on local workstations.