Home News Cyber Adversaries Up the Ante on Evasion and Anti-analysis to Avoid Detection

Cyber Adversaries Up the Ante on Evasion and Anti-analysis to Avoid Detection

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Fortinet today announced the findings of its latest quarterly Global Threat Landscape Report.

* The research reveals that cybercriminals continue to look for new attack opportunities throughout the digital attack surface and are leveraging evasion as well as anti-analysis techniques as they become more sophisticated in their attempts.

* The Threat Landscape Index crossed a milestone this quarter. It is up nearly 4% from its original opening position year-over-year. The high point during that year-long timeframe is the peak and closing point of Q2 CY2019. The upsurge was driven by increased malware and exploit activity.

Highlights of the report

Upping the Ante on Evasion Tactics
Many modern malware tools already incorporate features for evading antivirus or other threat detection measures, but cyber adversaries are becoming more sophisticated in their obfuscation and anti-analysis practices to avoid detection.

For example, a spam campaign demonstrates how adversaries are using and tweaking these techniques against defenders. The campaign involves the use of a phishing email with an attachment that turned out to be a weaponized Excel document with a malicious macro. The macro has attributes designed to disable security tools, execute commands arbitrarily, cause memory problems, and ensure that it only runs on Japanese systems. One property that it looks for in particular, an xlDate variable, seems to be undocumented. Another example involves a variant of the Dridex banking trojan which changes the names and hashes of files each time the victim logs in, making it difficult to spot the malware on infected host systems.

The growing use of anti-analysis and broader evasion tactics is a reminder of the need for multi-layered defenses and behavior-based threat detection.

Under the Radar Attacks Aim for the Long-haul
The Zegost infostealer malware, is the cornerstone of a spear phishing campaign and contains intriguing techniques. Like other infostealers, the main objective of Zegost is to gather information about the victim’s device and exfiltrate it. Yet, when compared to other infostealers, Zegost is uniquely configured to stay under the radar. For example, Zegost includes functionality designed to clear event logs. This type of cleanup is not seen in typical malware. Another interesting development in Zegost’s evasion capabilities is a command that kept the infostealer “in stasis” until after February 14, 2019, after which it began its infection routine.

The threat actors behind Zegost utilize an arsenal of exploits to ensure they establish and maintain a connection to targeted victims, making it far more of a long term threat compared to its contemporaries.

How to Protect Your Organization: Broad, Integrated, and Automated Security
Threat intelligence that is dynamic, proactive, and available in real-time can help identify trends showing the evolution of attack methods targeting the digital attack surface and to pinpoint cyber hygiene priorities. The value and ability to take action on threat intelligence is severely diminished if it cannot be actionable in real-time across each security device. Only a security fabric that is broad, integrated, and automated can provide protection for the entire networked environment, from IoT to the edge, network core and to multi-clouds at speed and scale.

Report and Index Overview
The latest Fortinet Threat Landscape Report is a quarterly view that represents the collective intelligence of FortiGuard Labs, drawn from Fortinet’s vast array of global sensors during Q2 2019. Research data covers global and regional perspectives. Also included in the report is the Fortinet Threat Landscape Index (TLI), comprised of individual indices for three central and complementary aspects of that landscape which are exploits, malware, and botnets, showing prevalence and volume in a given quarter.

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