Blog

Dentro del SOC

Social Engineering: Detecting Malicious Email Activity from Both Known and Unknown Senders

Default blog imageDefault blog imageDefault blog imageDefault blog imageDefault blog imageDefault blog image
10
Apr 2023
10
Apr 2023
This blog post dissects two phishing attempts from known and unknown correspondents: a payroll diversion scam from unknown sender, and a malicious Microsoft 365 credential-stealing Box link from a known domain pretending to be a scanned PDF document sent for review.

Social engineering has become widespread in the cyber threat landscape in recent years, and the near-universal use of social media today has allowed attackers to research and target victims more effectively. Social engineering involves manipulating users to carry out actions such as revealing sensitive information like login credentials or credit card details. It can also lead to user account compromises, causing huge disruption to an organization’s digital estate. 

As people use social media platforms not only for personal reasons, but also for business purposes, attackers gain information they can exploit in social engineering attacks. For example, a threat actor may attempt to impersonate a known individual or legitimate service to take advantage of a user’s established trust. This is a highly successful method of social engineering because mimicking known contacts makes it difficult for traditional security tools that rely on deny-lists to detect the attack.

In October 2022, Darktrace identified and responded to two separate malicious email campaigns in which threat actors attempted to impersonate known contacts in an effort to compromise customer devices. As it learns the normal behavior of every user in the email system, Darktrace was able to instantly detect these threats and mitigate them autonomously, preventing significant disruption to the customer networks.

Payroll Diversion Fraud Attempt Impersonating a Former Employee 

While a customer in the Canadian energy sector was trialing Darktrace in October 2022, Darktrace/Email™ identified a suspicious email seemingly sent from an employee within the organization. The email was sent to the Senior Director of Human Resources (HR) with a subject line of “Change in payroll Direct Deposit.” The email requested a change in bank account information for an employee. However, Darktrace recognized that the sender was using a free mail address that contained random letters, indicating it may have been algorithmically generated. Since this incident occurred during a trial, Darktrace/Email was not configured to take action. Otherwise, it would have prevented the email from landing in the inbox. In this case though, the email went through, bypassing all other security tools in place.

Although the email was from an unknown sender, the HR director believed the email could have been legitimate as the employee who appeared to be the sender had left the organization seven days prior and no longer had access to their corporate email account. However, after reviewing it in the Darktrace/Email dashboard, the customer grew suspicious and contacted the former employee directly to verify if the request was legitimate. The former employee validated the suspicions by confirming they had sent no such email.

Further investigation by the customer revealed that the former employee had been vocal about their departure on various social media platforms. This gave threat actors valuable information to believably impersonate the former employee and defraud the organization. 

Such attempts to target organizations’ HR departments and divert payroll are common tactics for cyber-criminals and are often identified by Darktrace/Email across the customer base. Darktrace/Email is able to instantly identify the indicators associated with these spoofing attempts and immediately bring them to the attention of the customer’s security team. 

Using Legitimate File Sharing Service to Share a Phishing Link 

On October 7, 2022, a customer in the Singaporean construction sector was targeted by a phishing campaign attempting to impersonate a law firm known to the organization. Almost 200 employees received an email with the subject line “Accepted: Valuation Agreement.” 

Figure 1: Sample of an UI view of the message held showing anomaly indicators, history, association, and validation.

Four days earlier, Darktrace observed communication between another email address associated with the law firm and an employee of the customer. Darktrace/Email noted that it was the first time this correspondent had sent emails to the customer. 

Figure 2: Metrics showing how well the sender’s domain is known within the digital environment.

The emails contained a highly unusual link to a file sharing service, (hxxps://ssvilvensstokes[.]app[.]box[.]com/notes), hidden behind the text “PREVIEW OR PRINT COPY OF DOCUMENT HERE.” Darktrace analysts investigated this event further and found that around 30 similar URLs had been identified as suspicious using OSINT security tools in October 2022, suggesting the customer was not the only target of this phishing campaign.

Figure 3: Preview of the phishing email’s body.
Figure 4: Darktrace’s evaluation of the link contained in the phishing email.

Additional OSINT work revealed that the link directed to a website which appeared to host a PDF file named “Valuation Agreement.” The recipient would then be prompted to follow another link (hulking-citrine-krypton[.]glitch[.]me), again hidden behind the text “OPEN OR ACCESS DOCUMENT HERE” to view the file. Subsequently, the user would be prompted to enter their Microsoft 365 credentials. 

Figure 5: The page displayed when the phishing link was clicked, viewed in a sandbox environment.
Figure 6: Example of a page shown when recipient clicks the second link, accessing “hulking-citrine-krypton[.]glitch[.]me”. 

This page contained the text “This document has been scanned for viruses by Norton Antivirus Security.” This is another example of threat actors’ employing social engineering techniques by impersonating well-known brands, such as established security vendors, to gain the trust of users and increase their likelihood of success.

It is highly probable that a real employee of the law firm had their account hijacked and that a malicious actor was exploiting it to send out these phishing emails en masse as part of a supply chain attack. In such cases, malicious actors rely on their targets’ trust of known contacts to not question departures from their normal conversations. 

Darktrace was able to instantly detect multiple anomalies in these emails, despite the fact that they were seemingly sent by known correspondents. The activity detected automatically triggered model breaches associated with unexpected and visually prominent links. As a result, Darktrace/Email responded by locking the link, stopping users from being able to click it.

Darktrace subsequently identified additional emails from this sender attempting to target other recipients within the company, triggering the model breaches associated with a surge in email sending indicative of a phishing campaign. In response, Darktrace/Email autonomously acted and filed these emails as junk. As more emails were detected across the customer’s environment, the anomaly score of the sender increased and Darktrace ultimately held back over 160 malicious emails, safeguarding recipients from potential account compromise.           

The following Darktrace/Email models were breached throughout the course of this phishing campaign:

  • Unusual/Sender Surge 
  • Unusual/Undisclosed Recipients 
  • Antigena Anomaly 
  • Association/Unlikely Recipient Association 
  • Link/Low Link Association 
  • Link/Visually Prominent Link 
  • Link/Visually Prominent Link Unexpected For Sender 
  • Unusual/New Sender Wide Distribution
  • Unusual/Undisclosed Recipients + New Address Known Domain

Conclusion

Social engineering plays a role in many of the major threats challenging current email cyber security, as attackers can use it to manipulate users into transferring money, revealing credentials, clicking malicious links, and more. 

The above threat stories happened before language generating AI became mainstream with the release of ChatGPT in December 2022. Now, it is even easier for malicious actors to generate sophisticated social engineering emails. By using social media posts as input, social engineering emails written by generative AI can be highly targeted and produced at scale. They often avoid the flags users are trained to look for, like poor grammar and spelling mistakes, and can hide payloads or forgo them entirely.

To mitigate the risk of possible social engineering attempts, it is recommended that organizations implement social media policies that advise employees to be cautious of what they post online and enact procedures to verify if fund transfer requests are legitimate.

Yet these policies are not enough on their own. Darktrace/Email can identify suspicious email traits, whether an email is sent from a known correspondent or an unknown sender. With Self-Learning AI, it knows an organization’s users better than any impersonator could. In this way, Darktrace/Email detects anomalies within emails and neutralizes malicious components at machine-speed, stopping attacks at their earliest stages, before employees fall victim. 

Appendices

List of Indicators of Compromise (IoCs)

Domain:

hxxps://ssvilvensstokes[.]app[.]box[.]com/notes/*?s=* - 1st external link (seen in email)

hxxps://hulking-citrine-krypton[.]glitch[.]me/flk.html - 2nd external link, masked behind “OPEN OR ACCESS DOCUMENT HERE”

DENTRO DEL SOC
Darktrace son expertos de talla mundial en inteligencia de amenazas, caza de amenazas y respuesta a incidentes, y proporcionan apoyo al SOC las 24 horas del día a miles de clientes de Darktrace en todo el mundo. Inside the SOC está redactado exclusivamente por estos expertos y ofrece un análisis de los ciberincidentes y las tendencias de las amenazas, basado en la experiencia real sobre el terreno.
AUTOR
SOBRE EL AUTOR
Isabelle Cheong
Cyber Security Analyst
Book a 1-1 meeting with one of our experts
share this article
CASOS DE USO
No se ha encontrado ningún artículo.
PRODUCTOS DESTACADOS
No se ha encontrado ningún artículo.
Cobertura básica

More in this series

No se ha encontrado ningún artículo.

Blog

Dentro del SOC

A Thorn in Attackers’ Sides: How Darktrace Uncovered a CACTUS Ransomware Infection

Default blog imageDefault blog image
24
Apr 2024

What is CACTUS Ransomware?

In May 2023, Kroll Cyber Threat Intelligence Analysts identified CACTUS as a new ransomware strain that had been actively targeting large commercial organizations since March 2023 [1]. CACTUS ransomware gets its name from the filename of the ransom note, “cAcTuS.readme.txt”. Encrypted files are appended with the extension “.cts”, followed by a number which varies between attacks, e.g. “.cts1” and “.cts2”.

As the cyber threat landscape adapts to ever-present fast-paced technological change, ransomware affiliates are employing progressively sophisticated techniques to enter networks, evade detection and achieve their nefarious goals.

How does CACTUS Ransomware work?

In the case of CACTUS, threat actors have been seen gaining initial network access by exploiting Virtual Private Network (VPN) services. Once inside the network, they may conduct internal scanning using tools like SoftPerfect Network Scanner, and PowerShell commands to enumerate endpoints, identify user accounts, and ping remote endpoints. Persistence is maintained by the deployment of various remote access methods, including legitimate remote access tools like Splashtop, AnyDesk, and SuperOps RMM in order to evade detection, along with malicious tools like Cobalt Strike and Chisel. Such tools, as well as custom scripts like TotalExec, have been used to disable security software to distribute the ransomware binary. CACTUS ransomware is unique in that it adopts a double-extortion tactic, stealing data from target networks and then encrypting it on compromised systems [2].

At the end of November 2023, cybersecurity firm Arctic Wolf reported instances of CACTUS attacks exploiting vulnerabilities on the Windows version of the business analytics platform Qlik, specifically CVE-2023-41266, CVE-2023-41265, and CVE-2023-48365, to gain initial access to target networks [3]. The vulnerability tracked as CVE-2023-41266 can be exploited to generate anonymous sessions and perform HTTP requests to unauthorized endpoints, whilst CVE-2023-41265 does not require authentication and can be leveraged to elevate privileges and execute HTTP requests on the backend server that hosts the application [2].

Darktrace’s Coverage of CACTUS Ransomware

In November 2023, Darktrace observed malicious actors leveraging the aforementioned method of exploiting Qlik to gain access to the network of a customer in the US, more than a week before the vulnerability was reported by external researchers.

Here, Qlik vulnerabilities were successfully exploited, and a malicious executable (.exe) was detonated on the network, which was followed by network scanning and failed Kerberos login attempts. The attack culminated in the encryption of numerous files with extensions such as “.cts1”, and SMB writes of the ransom note “cAcTuS.readme.txt” to multiple internal devices, all of which was promptly identified by Darktrace DETECT™.

While traditional rules and signature-based detection tools may struggle to identify the malicious use of a legitimate business platform like Qlik, Darktrace’s Self-Learning AI was able to confidently identify anomalous use of the tool in a CACTUS ransomware attack by examining the rarity of the offending device’s surrounding activity and comparing it to the learned behavior of the device and its peers.

Unfortunately for the customer in this case, Darktrace RESPOND™ was not enabled in autonomous response mode during their encounter with CACTUS ransomware meaning that attackers were able to successfully escalate their attack to the point of ransomware detonation and file encryption. Had RESPOND been configured to autonomously act on any unusual activity, Darktrace could have prevented the attack from progressing, stopping the download of any harmful files, or the encryption of legitimate ones.

Cactus Ransomware Attack Overview

Holiday periods have increasingly become one of the favoured times for malicious actors to launch their attacks, as they can take advantage of the festive downtime of organizations and their security teams, and the typically more relaxed mindset of employees during this period [4].

Following this trend, in late November 2023, Darktrace began detecting anomalous connections on the network of a customer in the US, which presented multiple indicators of compromise (IoCs) and tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) associated with CACTUS ransomware. The threat actors in this case set their attack in motion by exploiting the Qlik vulnerabilities on one of the customer’s critical servers.

Darktrace observed the server device making beaconing connections to the endpoint “zohoservice[.]net” (IP address: 45.61.147.176) over the course of three days. This endpoint is known to host a malicious payload, namely a .zip file containing the command line connection tool PuttyLink [5].

Darktrace’s Cyber AI Analyst was able to autonomously identify over 1,000 beaconing connections taking place on the customer’s network and group them together, in this case joining the dots in an ongoing ransomware attack. AI Analyst recognized that these repeated connections to highly suspicious locations were indicative of malicious command-and-control (C2) activity.

Cyber AI Analyst Incident Log showing the offending device making over 1,000 connections to the suspicious hostname “zohoservice[.]net” over port 8383, within a specific period.
Figure 1: Cyber AI Analyst Incident Log showing the offending device making over 1,000 connections to the suspicious hostname “zohoservice[.]net” over port 8383, within a specific period.

The infected device was then observed downloading the file “putty.zip” over a HTTP connection using a PowerShell user agent. Despite being labelled as a .zip file, Darktrace’s detection capabilities were able to identify this as a masqueraded PuttyLink executable file. This activity resulted in multiple Darktrace DETECT models being triggered. These models are designed to look for suspicious file downloads from endpoints not usually visited by devices on the network, and files whose types are masqueraded, as well as the anomalous use of PowerShell. This behavior resembled previously observed activity with regards to the exploitation of Qlik Sense as an intrusion technique prior to the deployment of CACTUS ransomware [5].

The downloaded file’s URI highlighting that the file type (.exe) does not match the file's extension (.zip). Information about the observed PowerShell user agent is also featured.
Figure 2: The downloaded file’s URI highlighting that the file type (.exe) does not match the file's extension (.zip). Information about the observed PowerShell user agent is also featured.

Following the download of the masqueraded file, Darktrace observed the initial infected device engaging in unusual network scanning activity over the SMB, RDP and LDAP protocols. During this activity, the credential, “service_qlik” was observed, further indicating that Qlik was exploited by threat actors attempting to evade detection. Connections to other internal devices were made as part of this scanning activity as the attackers attempted to move laterally across the network.

Numerous failed connections from the affected server to multiple other internal devices over port 445, indicating SMB scanning activity.
Figure 3: Numerous failed connections from the affected server to multiple other internal devices over port 445, indicating SMB scanning activity.

The compromised server was then seen initiating multiple sessions over the RDP protocol to another device on the customer’s network, namely an internal DNS server. External researchers had previously observed this technique in CACTUS ransomware attacks where an RDP tunnel was established via Plink [5].

A few days later, on November 24, Darktrace identified over 20,000 failed Kerberos authentication attempts for the username “service_qlik” being made to the internal DNS server, clearly representing a brute-force login attack. There is currently a lack of open-source intelligence (OSINT) material definitively listing Kerberos login failures as part of a CACTUS ransomware attack that exploits the Qlik vulnerabilities. This highlights Darktrace’s ability to identify ongoing threats amongst unusual network activity without relying on existing threat intelligence, emphasizing its advantage over traditional security detection tools.

Kerberos login failures being carried out by the initial infected device. The destination device detected was an internal DNS server.
Figure 4: Kerberos login failures being carried out by the initial infected device. The destination device detected was an internal DNS server.

In the month following these failed Kerberos login attempts, between November 26 and December 22, Darktrace observed multiple internal devices encrypting files within the customer’s environment with the extensions “.cts1” and “.cts7”. Devices were also seen writing ransom notes with the file name “cAcTuS.readme.txt” to two additional internal devices, as well as files likely associated with Qlik, such as “QlikSense.pdf”. This activity detected by Darktrace confirmed the presence of a CACTUS ransomware infection that was spreading across the customer’s network.

The model, 'Ransom or Offensive Words Written to SMB', triggered in response to SMB file writes of the ransom note, ‘cAcTuS.readme.txt’, that was observed on the customer’s network.
Figure 5: The model, 'Ransom or Offensive Words Written to SMB', triggered in response to SMB file writes of the ransom note, ‘cAcTuS.readme.txt’, that was observed on the customer’s network.
CACTUS ransomware extensions, “.cts1” and “.cts7”, being appended to files on the customer’s network.
Figure 6: CACTUS ransomware extensions, “.cts1” and “.cts7”, being appended to files on the customer’s network.

Following this initial encryption activity, two affected devices were observed attempting to remove evidence of this activity by deleting the encrypted files.

Attackers attempting to remove evidence of their activity by deleting files with appendage “.cts1”.
Figure 7: Attackers attempting to remove evidence of their activity by deleting files with appendage “.cts1”.

Conclusion

In the face of this CACTUS ransomware attack, Darktrace’s anomaly-based approach to threat detection enabled it to quickly identify multiple stages of the cyber kill chain occurring in the customer’s environment. These stages ranged from ‘initial access’ by exploiting Qlik vulnerabilities, which Darktrace was able to detect before the method had been reported by external researchers, to ‘actions on objectives’ by encrypting files. Darktrace’s Self-Learning AI was also able to detect a previously unreported stage of the attack: multiple Kerberos brute force login attempts.

If Darktrace’s autonomous response capability, RESPOND, had been active and enabled in autonomous response mode at the time of this attack, it would have been able to take swift mitigative action to shut down such suspicious activity as soon as it was identified by DETECT, effectively containing the ransomware attack at the earliest possible stage.

Learning a network’s ‘normal’ to identify deviations from established patterns of behaviour enables Darktrace’s identify a potential compromise, even one that uses common and often legitimately used administrative tools. This allows Darktrace to stay one step ahead of the increasingly sophisticated TTPs used by ransomware actors.

Credit to Tiana Kelly, Cyber Analyst & Analyst Team Lead, Anna Gilbertson, Cyber Analyst

Appendices

References

[1] https://www.kroll.com/en/insights/publications/cyber/cactus-ransomware-prickly-new-variant-evades-detection

[2] https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/cactus-ransomware-exploiting-qlik-sense-flaws-to-breach-networks/

[3] https://explore.avertium.com/resource/new-ransomware-strains-cactus-and-3am

[4] https://www.soitron.com/cyber-attackers-abuse-holidays/

[5] https://arcticwolf.com/resources/blog/qlik-sense-exploited-in-cactus-ransomware-campaign/

Darktrace DETECT Models

Compromise / Agent Beacon (Long Period)

Anomalous Connection / PowerShell to Rare External

Device / New PowerShell User Agent

Device / Suspicious SMB Scanning Activity

Anomalous File / EXE from Rare External Location

Anomalous Connection / Unusual Internal Remote Desktop

User / Kerberos Password Brute Force

Compromise / Ransomware / Ransom or Offensive Words Written to SMB

Unusual Activity / Anomalous SMB Delete Volume

Anomalous Connection / Multiple Connections to New External TCP Port

Compromise / Slow Beaconing Activity To External Rare  

Compromise / SSL Beaconing to Rare Destination  

Anomalous Server Activity / Rare External from Server  

Compliance / Remote Management Tool On Server

Compromise / Agent Beacon (Long Period)  

Compromise / Suspicious File and C2  

Device / Internet Facing Device with High Priority Alert  

Device / Large Number of Model Breaches  

Anomalous File / Masqueraded File Transfer

Anomalous File / Internet facing System File Download  

Anomalous Server Activity / Outgoing from Server

Device / Initial Breach Chain Compromise  

Compromise / Agent Beacon (Medium Period)  

Compromise / Agent Beacon (Long Period)  

List of IoCs

IoC - Type - Description

zohoservice[.]net: 45.61.147[.]176 - Domain name: IP Address - Hosting payload over HTTP

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT; Windows NT 10.0; en-US) WindowsPowerShell/5.1.17763.2183 - User agent -PowerShell user agent

.cts1 - File extension - Malicious appendage

.cts7- File extension - Malicious appendage

cAcTuS.readme.txt - Filename -Ransom note

putty.zip – Filename - Initial payload: ZIP containing PuTTY Link

MITRE ATT&CK Mapping

Tactic - Technique  - SubTechnique

Web Protocols: COMMAND AND CONTROL - T1071 -T1071.001

Powershell: EXECUTION - T1059 - T1059.001

Exploitation of Remote Services: LATERAL MOVEMENT - T1210 – N/A

Vulnerability Scanning: RECONAISSANCE     - T1595 - T1595.002

Network Service Scanning: DISCOVERY - T1046 - N/A

Malware: RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT - T1588 - T1588.001

Drive-by Compromise: INITIAL ACCESS - T1189 - N/A

Remote Desktop Protocol: LATERAL MOVEMENT – 1021 -T1021.001

Brute Force: CREDENTIAL ACCESS        T – 1110 - N/A

Data Encrypted for Impact: IMPACT - T1486 - N/A

Data Destruction: IMPACT - T1485 - N/A

File Deletion: DEFENSE EVASION - T1070 - T1070.004

Continue reading
About the author
Tiana Kelly
Deputy Team Lead, London & Cyber Analyst

Blog

No se ha encontrado ningún artículo.

The State of AI in Cybersecurity: How AI will impact the cyber threat landscape in 2024

Default blog imageDefault blog image
22
Apr 2024

About the AI Cybersecurity Report

We surveyed 1,800 CISOs, security leaders, administrators, and practitioners from industries around the globe. Our research was conducted to understand how the adoption of new AI-powered offensive and defensive cybersecurity technologies are being managed by organizations.

This blog is continuing the conversation from our last blog post “The State of AI in Cybersecurity: Unveiling Global Insights from 1,800 Security Practitioners” which was an overview of the entire report. This blog will focus on one aspect of the overarching report, the impact of AI on the cyber threat landscape.

To access the full report click here.

Are organizations feeling the impact of AI-powered cyber threats?

Nearly three-quarters (74%) state AI-powered threats are now a significant issue. Almost nine in ten (89%) agree that AI-powered threats will remain a major challenge into the foreseeable future, not just for the next one to two years.

However, only a slight majority (56%) thought AI-powered threats were a separate issue from traditional/non AI-powered threats. This could be the case because there are few, if any, reliable methods to determine whether an attack is AI-powered.

Identifying exactly when and where AI is being applied may not ever be possible. However, it is possible for AI to affect every stage of the attack lifecycle. As such, defenders will likely need to focus on preparing for a world where threats are unique and are coming faster than ever before.

a hypothetical cyber attack augmented by AI at every stage

Are security stakeholders concerned about AI’s impact on cyber threats and risks?

The results from our survey showed that security practitioners are concerned that AI will impact organizations in a variety of ways. There was equal concern associated across the board – from volume and sophistication of malware to internal risks like leakage of proprietary information from employees using generative AI tools.

What this tells us is that defenders need to prepare for a greater volume of sophisticated attacks and balance this with a focus on cyber hygiene to manage internal risks.

One example of a growing internal risks is shadow AI. It takes little effort for employees to adopt publicly-available text-based generative AI systems to increase their productivity. This opens the door to “shadow AI”, which is the use of popular AI tools without organizational approval or oversight. Resulting security risks such as inadvertent exposure of sensitive information or intellectual property are an ever-growing concern.

Are organizations taking strides to reduce risks associated with adoption of AI in their application and computing environment?

71.2% of survey participants say their organization has taken steps specifically to reduce the risk of using AI within its application and computing environment.

16.3% of survey participants claim their organization has not taken these steps.

These findings are good news. Even as enterprises compete to get as much value from AI as they can, as quickly as possible, they’re tempering their eager embrace of new tools with sensible caution.

Still, responses varied across roles. Security analysts, operators, administrators, and incident responders are less likely to have said their organizations had taken AI risk mitigation steps than respondents in other roles. In fact, 79% of executives said steps had been taken, and only 54% of respondents in hands-on roles agreed. It seems that leaders believe their organizations are taking the needed steps, but practitioners are seeing a gap.

Do security professionals feel confident in their preparedness for the next generation of threats?

A majority of respondents (six out of every ten) believe their organizations are inadequately prepared to face the next generation of AI-powered threats.

The survey findings reveal contrasting perceptions of organizational preparedness for cybersecurity threats across different regions and job roles. Security administrators, due to their hands-on experience, express the highest level of skepticism, with 72% feeling their organizations are inadequately prepared. Notably, respondents in mid-sized organizations feel the least prepared, while those in the largest companies feel the most prepared.

Regionally, participants in Asia-Pacific are most likely to believe their organizations are unprepared, while those in Latin America feel the most prepared. This aligns with the observation that Asia-Pacific has been the most impacted region by cybersecurity threats in recent years, according to the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index.

The optimism among Latin American respondents could be attributed to lower threat volumes experienced in the region, but it's cautioned that this could change suddenly (1).

What are biggest barriers to defending against AI-powered threats?

The top-ranked inhibitors center on knowledge and personnel. However, issues are alluded to almost equally across the board including concerns around budget, tool integration, lack of attention to AI-powered threats, and poor cyber hygiene.

The cybersecurity industry is facing a significant shortage of skilled professionals, with a global deficit of approximately 4 million experts (2). As organizations struggle to manage their security tools and alerts, the challenge intensifies with the increasing adoption of AI by attackers. This shift has altered the demands on security teams, requiring practitioners to possess broad and deep knowledge across rapidly evolving solution stacks.

Educating end users about AI-driven defenses becomes paramount as organizations grapple with the shortage of professionals proficient in managing AI-powered security tools. Operationalizing machine learning models for effectiveness and accuracy emerges as a crucial skill set in high demand. However, our survey highlights a concerning lack of understanding among cybersecurity professionals regarding AI-driven threats and the use of AI-driven countermeasures indicating a gap in keeping pace with evolving attacker tactics.

The integration of security solutions remains a notable problem, hindering effective defense strategies. While budget constraints are not a primary inhibitor, organizations must prioritize addressing these challenges to bolster their cybersecurity posture. It's imperative for stakeholders to recognize the importance of investing in skilled professionals and integrated security solutions to mitigate emerging threats effectively.

To access the full report click here.

References

1. IBM, X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2024, Available at: https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/L0GKXDWJ

2. ISC2, Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2023, Available at: https://media.isc2.org/-/media/Project/ISC2/Main/Media/ documents/research/ISC2_Cybersecurity_Workforce_Study_2023.pdf?rev=28b46de71ce24e6ab7705f6e3da8637e

Continue reading
About the author
Our ai. Your data.

Elevate your cyber defenses with Darktrace AI

Inicie su prueba gratuita
Darktrace AI protecting a business from cyber threats.