This year has flown by! It seems like just yesterday IBM was presenting “2014: The Year That the Internet Fell Apart” at the InterConnect Conference. Aside from good holiday cheer, the end of the year is often a time when one reflects on past events and lessons learned. For this reason, the final issue of the 2015 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Quarterly shifts the focus to our in-house experts at IBM Security Services and their recent security research.

The IBM Security Services team has an extensive global reach and experience with addressing cybersecurity concerns and incidents affecting clients across a broad range of industries. Insights garnered from these experiences allow the team to identify common threads, which are woven together to form a picture of current security trends, techniques and tools used by cybercriminals, as well as reoccurring gaps in our clients’ security postures.

Security Research Finds Four Top Cybercrime Trends

Many of the security incidents to which the IBM Emergency Response Services (ERS) team responds involve fundamental breakdowns in sound security practices — that is, they could be prevented. While the incidents occur around the globe, many of them share certain characteristics and fit recurring patterns.

Our report begins by highlighting four key trends the ERS team has observed throughout 2015. These include an increase in onion-layered security incidents, ransomware attacks and insider threats, along with the transformation of security issues into a boardroom priority.

Indicators of Compromise

These security trends raise an important question: How can your enterprise find the footprints that attackers leave behind when they breach your defenses? Fortunately, the attackers aren’t the only ones who have a collection of tools at their disposal.

Our second article addresses indicators of compromise (IoC), which provide the digital evidence that an attack may have occurred and are an important tool in forensic analysis following a breach. We focus on how security teams can use IoC to track advanced attackers, assess the level of compromise and remediate issues before significant damage occurs.

Good News! Small Changes Can Have a Big Impact

It’s been a tough year for our customers’ security teams. Insider threats, malware, stealthy tools and morphing attacks continue to challenge organizations of all sizes in 2015.

When IBM X-Force looks back across the year, we see many areas for improvement. The good news is that organizations can use this security research to take stronger responsibility, make a few small changes and see a big impact for the long term.

Download the complete IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Quarterly – 4Q 2015

more from Threat Research