Attackers target default or easily-guessed usernames and passwords to breach enterprise defences; increasing complexity and attack surface expansion compounded by cloud, IoT, and network segmentation also a problem
Ixia, a leading provider of network testing, visibility and security solutions, has announced the release of the first Ixia Security Report, a summation of 2016’s biggest security events including findings from Ixia’s Application and Threat Intelligence (ATI) Research Center, which uses a global network of honeypots and web crawlers to actively identify known and unknown malware, attack vectors and application exposures.
While increases in malware are clearly a major threat to both enterprises and service providers, network complexity is creating its own vulnerability. The average enterprise is using six different cloud services, and network segmentation is increasing, yet 54% of enterprises are monitoring less than half of those network segments, and less than 19% of companies believe that their IT teams are adequately trained on the wide array of network appliances they are managing.
“Organizations need to constantly monitor, test and shift security tactics to keep ahead of attackers in the fast-paced threat landscape we all deal with today. This is especially important as new cloud services and increased IoT devices are routinely being introduced,” said Marie Hattar, chief marketing officer (CMO) at Ixia. “To do this effectively, organizations must start by studying their evolving attack surface and ensure they have the proper security expansion measures in place. Simple but effective testing and operational visibility can go a long way to improving security.”
2016 highlights from Ixia’s ATI Research Center include:
Top usernames and passwords
Gaining access to accounts is often done the old-fashioned way—brute force guesses, starting with the most obvious. It is shocking how many network accounts and devices contain default usernames and passwords. At the top of the list were usernames like “root” and “admin,” but also “ubnt,” which is the default username for AWS and other cloud service offerings that use Ubuntu. IoT was also a notable target with “pi” for Raspberry PI.
The top 5 username guesses were: root, admin, ubnt, support, and user
The top 5 password guesses were: null, ubnt, admin, 123456, and support
Malware or phishing?
Malware continued to dominate over 2016 but there were a few months — namely June, July, and August 2016 — during which ransomware phishing appeared to have outpaced conventional malware phishing.
The top five phishing target websites globally were Google, Paypal, Facebook, Microsoft, and Alibaba.
Adobe updates were found to be the most prevalent drive-by updates for delivering malware or phishing attacks.
Top exploited URI paths and content management systems
A uniform resource identifier (URI) is a string of characters used to identify a name of a resource, which can be interacted with via the web using specific protocols to try and exploit it.
WordPress URI paths were the two most exploited in2016, showing how attackers are targeting sites built on the popular platform. The top exploited URI paths used for brute force WordPress logins were ‘/xmlrpc.php’ and ‘/wp-login.php’. Ixia also saw many attempts to scan for the ‘phpinfo()’ function and that most URIs attempted for attack were PHP based. WordPress was by far the most exploited content management system, with Joomla a distant second.
The ATI Research Center leverages over 800 Ixia engineers and researchers that operate a worldwide, distributed network of honeypots and web crawlers to actively identify known and unknown malware, attack vectors and application exposures. With a combined 20 years of insights as the industry’s #1 provider of network and network security testing along with Ixia’s understanding of large scale network data distribution systems, Ixia’s security researchers provide an extensive analysis of an organization’s network attack surfaces.