This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.
With the recent increase in malicious activities and threats, Singaporean firms and enterprises have had to re-look their security infrastructure and protocols. Mostly motivated by financial objectives, malicious threats are still wreaking havoc despite the heightened education and awareness. One of the many tools that cybercriminals use is exploit kits that are both very deceptive and highly efficient.
Exploit kits have been frequently used by cybercriminals over the last few years to infect devices with malware and cause damage - be it holding data for ransom or stealing the data for profit. Exploit kit use is on the rise again as indicated by the latest Infoblox DNS Threat Index report which shows a 75% increase in exploit kit related activity in Q3 2015, compared to the same quarter in 2014.
Here we look at five reasons why exploit kits are a highly dangerous cyber threat:
1. Using exploit kits requires minimal technical expertise.
Sophisticated cybercriminals create exploit kits by doing the hard work of figuring out vulnerabilities, attaching payloads to kits and packaging them for use. Anyone who wants to attack a target can simply rent the exploit kit for a nominal fee. This greatly amplifies the impact of exploit kits and provides small time thieves with dangerous ammunition to go after your data.
2. They target security holes in popular software.
Exploit kits take advantage of security holes and vulnerabilities in popular operating systems and software like Adobe Flash and Java. While these are software that we use in everyday life, we may not always click that "update" button when a new patch or fix is pushed to our device. People using older versions of Java or browsers may be susceptible to certain exploit kits.
3. They are best at exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities.
Zero day vulnerabilities are security holes in software that no one has detected before - not even the manufacturers of the software. This also means that there is no patch or fix available to rectify the holes. Certain exploit kits like Angler are very effective in incorporating zero-day vulnerabilities into their package, making it difficult for traditional antivirus technologies to be effective.
4. It is easy to lure victims.
Exploit kits use the age-old method of spam or malvertising to lure users to a compromised site. When a user inadvertently clicks on a malicious ad or a malicious link, he is taken to a compromised site with the exploit kit. The exploit kit is then delivered along with a malicious payload onto the victim's device.
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