Intel Security today released its McAfee Labs Threats Report: March 2016, which assesses the attitudes of 500 cybersecurity professionals toward cyber threat intelligence (CTI) sharing, examines the inner workings of the Adwind* remote administration tool (RAT), and details surges in ransomware, mobile malware, and overall malware in Q4 2015.
In 2015, Intel Security interviewed 500 security professionals in a wide variety of industries across North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe to gauge awareness of CTI, its perceived value in enterprise security, and which factors may stand in the way of greater implementation of CTI into security strategies. Respondents provided a valuable illustration of the present state of and potential opportunities for CTI in the enterprise:
- Value perception and adoption. Of the 42 percent of respondents who report using shared threat intelligence, 97 percent believe that it enables them to provide better protection for their company. Of those participating respondents, 59 percent find such sharing to be “very valuable” to their organizations, while 38 percent find sharing to be “somewhat valuable.”
- Industry-specific intelligence. A near unanimous 91 percent of respondents voice interest in industry-specific cyber threat intelligence, with 54 percent responding “very interested” and 37 percent responding “somewhat interested.” Sectors such as financial services and critical infrastructure stand to benefit most from such industry-specific CTI given the highly specialized nature of threats McAfee Labs has monitored in these two mission-critical industries.
- Willingness to share. Sixty-three percent of respondents indicate they may be willing to go beyond just receiving shared CTI to actually contributing their own data, as long as it can be shared within a secure and private platform. However, the idea of sharing their own information is met with varying degrees of enthusiasm, with 24 percent responding they are “very likely” to share while 39 percent are “somewhat likely” to share.
- Types of data to share. When asked what types of threat data they are willing to share, respondents say behavior of malware (72 percent), followed by URL reputations (58 percent), external IP address reputations (54 percent), certificate reputations (43 percent), and file reputations (37 percent).
- Barriers to CTI. When asked why they have not implemented shared CTI in their enterprises, 54 percent of respondents identify corporate policy as the reason, followed by industry regulations (24 percent). The remainder of respondents whose organizations do not share data report being interested but need more information (24 percent), or are concerned shared data would be linked back to their firms or themselves as individuals (21 percent). These findings suggest a lack of experience with, or knowledge of, the varieties of CTI integration options available to the industry, as well as a lack of understanding of the legal implications of sharing CTI.
“Given the determination demonstrated by cybercriminals, CTI sharing will become an important tool in tilting the cybersecurity balance of power in favor of defenders,” said Vincent Weafer, vice president of Intel Security’s McAfee Labs group. “But our survey suggests that high-value CTI must overcome the barriers of organizational policies, regulatory restrictions, risks associated with attribution, trust and a lack of implementation knowledge before its potential can be fully realized.”
This quarter’s report also assesses the Adwind remote administration tool (RAT), a Java*-based backdoor Trojan that targets various platforms supporting Java files. Adwind is typically propagated through spam campaigns that employ malware-laden email attachments, compromised web pages and drive-by downloads. The McAfee Labs Report depicts a rapid increase in the number of .jar file samples identified by McAfee Labs researchers as Adwind, with 7,295 in Q4 2015, a leap of 426 percent from 1,388 in Q1 2015.