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Surge in “Hunter-killer” Malware Uncovered by Picus Security

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The Picus Red Report 2024 reveals 333% increase in malware that targets and disables security controls 

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Picus Security, the Security Validation company, has released the Picus Red Report 2024. This fourth annual report shares learnings from an in-depth analysis of more than 600,000 real-world malware samples and identifies the most common techniques leveraged by attackers. This year, Picus uncovered a surge of “Hunter-killer” malware from the research findings, demonstrating a drastic shift in adversaries’ ability to identify and neutralize advanced enterprise defenses such as next-gen firewalls, antivirus, and EDR. According to the report, there was a 333% increase in malware that can actively target defensive systems in an attempt to disable them. 

“We are witnessing a surge in ultra-evasive, highly aggressive malware which shares the characteristics of hunter-killer submarines,” said Dr. Suleyman Ozarslan, Picus Security Co-founder and VP of Picus Labs. “Just as these subs move silently through deep waters and launch devastating attacks to defeat their targets’ defenses, new malware is designed to not only evade security tools but actively bring them down. We believe cybercriminals are changing tact in response to the security of average businesses being much-improved, and widely used tools offering far more advanced capabilities to detect threats. A year ago, it was relatively rare for adversaries to disable security controls. Now, this behavior is seen in a quarter of malware samples and is used by virtually every ransomware group and APT group.” 

The Red Report helps security teams better understand and battle cyber attacks by identifying the Top 10 most prevalent MITRE ATT&CK techniques exhibited by the latest malware. Its insights help prioritize defensive actions against commonly used techniques. Additional key findings include: 

Evolving tactics challenge detection and response: 70% of malware analyzed now employ stealth-oriented techniques by attackers, particularly those that facilitate evading security measures and maintaining persistence in networks.Invisibility at the forefront of evasion: There was a 150% increase in the use of T1027 Obfuscated Files or Information. This highlights a trend toward hindering the effectiveness of security solutions and obfuscating malicious activities to complicate the detection of attacks, forensic analysis, and incident response efforts. The ransomware saga continues: There was a 176% increase in the use of T1071 Application Layer Protocol, which are being strategically deployed for data exfiltration as part of sophisticated double extortion schemes. 

To combat Hunter-killer malware and stay ahead of 2024 malware trends, Picus is urging organizations to embrace machine learning, protect user credentials, and consistently validate their defenses against the latest tactics and techniques used by cybercriminals. 

“It can be incredibly difficult to detect if an attack has disabled or reconfigured security tools, because they may still appear to be working as expected,” said Huseyin Can YUCEEL, Security Research Lead at Picus Security. “Preventing attacks that would otherwise operate under the radar requires the use of multiple security controls with a defense-in-depth approach. Security validation must be a starting point for organizations to better understand their readiness and identify gaps. Unless an organization is proactively simulating attacks to assess the response of its EDR, XDR, SIEM, and other defensive systems that may be weakened or eliminated by Hunter-killer malware, they will not know they are down until it is too late.” 

For more information: 

Download the Picus Red Report 2024Read the Red Report 2024 blog 

Methodology

Between January 2023 and December 2023, Picus Labs, the research unit of Picus Security, analyzed 667,401 unique files, with 612,080 (92%) categorized as malicious. Sources of these files include but are not limited to commercial and open-source threat intelligence services, security vendors and researchers, malware sandboxes, malware databases, and forums. From these files, a total of 7,754,801 actions were extracted, an average of 13 malicious actions per malware. These actions were then mapped to 7,015,759 MITRE ATT&CK techniques, an average of 11 techniques per malware. 

To compile the Picus Red Report 2024 Top Ten, Picus Labs researchers determined the number of malicious files that used each technique. They then calculated the percentage of malware in the dataset that utilized that technique. For example, the T1055 Process Injection technique was used in 195,044 (32%) of the 612,080 malicious files analyzed. 

About Picus Security

Picus Security helps security teams consistently and accurately validate their security posture. Our Security Validation Platform simulates real-world threats to evaluate the effectiveness of security controls, identify high-risk attack paths to critical assets, and optimize threat prevention and detection capabilities.

As the pioneer of Breach and Attack Simulation, we specialize in delivering the actionable insights our customers need to be threat-centric and proactive. 

Picus has been named a ‘Cool Vendor’ by Gartner and is recognized by Frost & Sullivan as a leader in the Breach and Attack Simulation (BAS) market.

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Verndale Welcomes Max Fresen as Chief Experience Officer

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New CXO Brings Over Two Decades of Experience in Advertising and Marketing to Lead the Agency’s Experience Design Team

BOSTON, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Verndale, a digital experience agency headquartered in Boston, MA, announced the appointment of Max Fresen as their Chief Experience Officer (CXO). Max joins Verndale from BRANDtho, where he successfully led as CXO, bringing with him over two decades of invaluable experience in the advertising and marketing industry.

Following 2023 investments in the strategy team, Verndale welcomes a new CXO to steward innovation in experience design.

As CXO at Verndale, Max will play a pivotal role in charting the agency’s future. He’ll lead the experience design team and drive initiatives that align with the organization’s strategic goals.

Chris Pisapia, CEO of Verndale, shares, “As we steer Verndale through our transformative growth as a company, our focus on delivering business value remains. Balancing technical expertise with strategic creativity is key. Following our investments in the agency’s strategy team in 2023, we’re thrilled to announce Max Fresen’s hire to steward innovation in experience design. This move expands our creative services and reflects our commitment to redefining digital experiences and propelling clients’ initiatives forward.”

Max’s recruitment reinforces the agency’s commitment to excellence and innovation. In his role as the head of experience design, Max will be responsible for delivering engaging and impactful experiences across all channels and platforms, contributing to Verndale’s evolution as a strategic partner to its clients.

“I’m thrilled to join Verndale at this pivotal moment in the evolution of communication arts. In an era where generative technologies have made the once impossible commonplace, capturing customers’ attention and building a brand has become more challenging than ever,” comments Max. “Navigating the intersection of art and science is now essential for a company’s success. With Verndale’s decades of experience crafting tech-enabled experiences at an enterprise scale, we’re uniquely positioned to be the ideal partner for this transformative journey. I’m excited to contribute to Verndale’s mission and drive impactful outcomes for our clients and their customers.”

Max’s extensive experience and leadership at previous agencies prime him to lead and grow the Experience Design team and drive outcomes for our clients. His passion for pushing the boundaries of technology and psychology and his commitment to making the world a better place through design and innovation make him a valuable addition to the Verndale team. 

About Verndale

Verndale is a digital agency that designs, develops, and delivers high-performing websites and ecommerce experiences. The agency guides clients in creating more human experiences in a digital world and is committed to pushing boundaries, achieving growth objectives, and optimizing digital experiences for its clients and their customers. Verndale offers digital strategy, experience design, digital marketing, customer relationship management (CRM), and sales quoting solutions. The agency leverages best-in-class technologies to deliver clients custom solutions that stand above the rest.

As a recognized Optimizely Premium partner, Verndale has earned seven MVP awards, holds 60 certifications, and boasts 30 global accreditations. In 2023 and 2021, the agency was honored with the Optimizely Partner of the Year award. Verndale is also North America’s leading Sitecore Enterprise Solution provider and Platinum partner. With nine MVPs and 25 certified developers, Verndale’s specializations include Experience Platform, XM Cloud, OrderCloud, CDP & Personalization, and Content Hub. 

For more information about Verndale’s innovative solutions and industry expertise, visit verndale.com. Get in touch with us at hello@verndale.com.

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SOURCE Verndale Corporation

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EMA Research Webinar to Explore How Enterprises Can Be More Successful with Their Network Automation Initiatives

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According to new research from EMA, only 18% of network automation initiatives are a complete success

LAFAYETTE, Colo., March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Enterprise Management Associates (EMA™), a leading IT and data management analyst research and consulting firm, today announced it will host a research webinar titled “Enterprise Network Automation: Emerging from the Dark Ages and Reaching Toward NetDevOps,” based on recent research by Shamus McGillicuddy, EMA’s vice president of research covering network management. The research explores the challenges and opportunities of network automation for enterprise IT organizations.

Network automation continues to be a science project for too many companies. With this research, I tried to identify a path forward for IT decision-makers.

According to EMA’s new research, only 18% of network automation initiatives are a complete success. This indicates that network automation remains a significant challenge for many organizations. The webinar will provide insights and guidance to help organizations improve the success of their network automation initiatives.

During this webinar, McGillicuddy will share highlights from this new research, including:

Why nine out of ten IT organizations rely on a mix of vendor solutions and do-it-yourself network automation toolsHow network teams establish an authoritative network source of truth to drive effective network automationHow network teams validate network changes and monitor network complianceWhat pitfalls organizations should look out for on their network automation journey

“The IT industry has been attacking the problem of network automation for decades, and we still cannot get it right,” McGillicuddy said. “There are countless reasons for this ongoing struggle, including complexity, data quality and authority problems, and budget issues. As a result, network automation continues to be a science project for too many companies. With this research, I tried to identify a path forward for IT decision-makers.”

This independent research is sponsored by EfficientIP, IPFabric, NetBox Labs, NetBrain.

The webinar will take place on Tuesday, March 12 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Registration is available at: https://info.enterprisemanagement.com/enterprise-network-automation-webinar-pr

About EMA
Founded in 1996, EMA is a leading IT analyst research firm that provides deep insight across the full spectrum of IT and data management technologies. EMA analysts leverage a unique combination of practical experience, insight into industry best practices, and in-depth knowledge of current and planned vendor solutions to help their clients achieve their goals. Learn more about EMA research, analysis, and consulting services for enterprise line of business users, IT professionals, and IT vendors at https://www.enterprisemanagement.com

Media Contact

Raleigh Gould, Enterprise Management Associates, 303-543-9500, rgould@emausa.comhttps://www.enterprisemanagement.com 

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SOURCE Enterprise Management Associates

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Pioneer in Cyber Insurance in Brazil Receives $1.5 Million Funding

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Bluecyber, which offers digital protection insurance to SMEs and families, will expand its operations in Latin America

SÃO PAULO, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Bluecyber.insure, a pioneering insurtech in cyber insurance in Brazil, has received a $1.5 million investment from VCs Invisto.com.vc and Bossa Invest, as well as strategic investors from the insurance market. “This investment reflects the investors’ confidence in Bluecyber’s mission to simplify and expand insurance coverage for digital life protection of SMEs and families throughout Latin America, an underserved market with an estimated gross written premium (GWP) of USD 17.3 billion,” says Eduardo Rocha, CEO of Bluecyber.

The investment has already enabled the acquisition of Ismac.io, which developed an innovative Managed Detection and Response (MDR) platform. “This solution allows Bluecyber to continuously monitor its insured portfolio, detecting and responding to security incidents swiftly and efficiently, minimizing the impact of attacks, and delivering more value to the insured, as well as reducing the frequency and severity of claims,” explains Daniel Arruda, Ismac’s founder, who will take over the management of risk and compliance at Bluecyber.

In addition to financial compensation for claims such as data breaches, fines related to local General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), legal fees, and digital identity theft, the monthly cyber protection insurance subscription offers a help desk for everyday technological issues, antivirus, vulnerability monitoring, risk management, and incident response.

“We are confident that this new phase will be a watershed in the cyber insurance industry, offering innovative and comprehensive solutions,” says Bluecyber’s co-founder Claudio Macedo.

About Bluecyber

Founded in 2021, Bluecyber is a Managing General Agent (MGA) specializing in cyber insurance. It develops products tailored to the needs centered around customer-centricity, structures underwriting capacity with reinsurers and insurers, and cultivates innovative distribution channels. The B2B product sales are conducted entirely digitally through non-traditional channels, including internet providers, software and hardware manufacturers, as well as insurance brokers. Bluecyber aims to conclude 2024 with 10,000 subscribers, striving to simplify cyber protection. Seguros Sura, one of the largest insurance groups in Latin America, serves over 20 million insureds across seven countries and is the issuer of the policies, complying with all regulatory requirements.

 

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pioneer-in-cyber-insurance-in-brazil-receives-1-5-million-funding-302078880.html

SOURCE Bluecyber

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