When we look back in history to review and understand the past year, you can be assured it will be remembered as a year of significant change. From exploitation of critical vulnerabilities in widely used Internet-facing open-source libraries, to international privacy concerns, to a deluge of highly publicized data breaches, few would argue that 2014 had the makings of a perfect storm of security incidents.
The latest quarterly report from the IBM X-Force research and development team provides a roundup of 2014’s most significant security incidents and delineates the overarching themes that emerged in our year-end analysis.
Among the report’s highlights are these facts and findings:
- About 1 billion records of PII were leaked in 2014. The nature of breaches, in addition to making the tally challenging, expanded to include not just financial gain but also terrorist threats and personal embarrassment.
- Designer vulnerabilities, like Heartbleed and Shellshock, revealed cracks in the foundation of underlying libraries that handle cryptographic functionality on nearly every common web platform as well as common content management systems (CMS).
- The Citadel malware, initially introduced in a Russian underground forum, offers cybercriminals an advanced tool with “classic” Zeus capabilities as well as new features added based on crowd-sourcing feedback. These new variants are being used to attack industries beyond financial and banking industries.
- App designer apathy can negatively impact security on mobile devices as app designers may not roll out properly patched versions in a timely fashion. Despite warnings, 10 of the 17 (59%) of banking applications using Apache Cordova we tracked are still vulnerable 3 months later.