April 17, 2018 By Douglas Bonderud 2 min read

Despite increased spending on global security services, a recent report found that 100 percent of web applications are still vulnerable to cyberattacks. Although the study, conducted by security firm Trustwave, pegged just 8 percent of these vulnerabilities as high-risk or critical, the sheer volume of exploitable flaws means that cybercriminals’ persistence will likely pay off.

Targeted Attacks and Security Spending on the Rise

As noted by TechRepublic, cyberattack vectors are evolving. For example, while the volume of spam emails has dropped significantly over the last 10 years, threats such as PDF phishing, in which attackers send legitimate-looking PDFs that contain links to malicious sites, are on the rise.

While the Trustwave report found that high-profile arrests and increased corporate scrutiny has limited the impact of as-a-service exploit kits, “compromised webpages are too tempting a vector for exploitation for attackers to ignore it for long … inevitably, serious players will perceive a gap in the ‘market’ and fill it.” As a result, cybercriminals are shifting from large-volume exploit kits to more targeted attacks that leverage commonly shared vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity spending, meanwhile, is on the rise. Gartner predicted that global security services spending will reach $96 billion in 2018 as companies look for ways to mitigate emerging threats and protect critical data. But given the ubiquity of web application vulnerabilities, as noted by the Trustwave report, spending alone won’t solve the problem.

“It is clearer than ever that everyone who relies on today’s technology — not just security and IT professionals — must adopt an informed defensive stand to protect themselves from attack,” the report’s authors wrote.

Improving Global Security Services

Trustwave noted that both frequent system upgrades and rigorous patch management will be required to reduce the number of data breaches. According to CSO Online, enterprises can boost the cybersecurity bottom line by adopting an adversary mindset — that means gathering intelligence on adversaries and using this information to design effective defenses.

Security professionals “should also ensure that employee cybersecurity training is in place at their organization to decrease the likelihood of someone accidentally opening a malicious file or link on a work machine,” according to TechRepublic. This is critical because most attacks start with unintentional downloads, link clicks or email replies.

Finally, another CSO Online article noted that companies are sometimes reluctant to share threat data because these issues are often perceived as IT problems that should be solved internally. But according to GCN, cybersecurity partnerships provide strength in numbers by allowing companies “to better share threat information and provide tactical cybersecurity training to IT staff.”

More from

Widespread exploitation of recently disclosed Ivanti vulnerabilities

6 min read - IBM X-Force has assisted several organizations in responding to successful compromises involving the Ivanti appliance vulnerabilities disclosed in January 2024. Analysis of these incidents has identified several Ivanti file modifications that align with current public reporting. Additionally, IBM researchers have observed specific attack techniques involving the theft of authentication token data not readily noted in current public sources. The blog details the results of this research to assist organizations in protecting against these threats. Key Findings: IBM research teams have…

X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2024 reveals stolen credentials as top risk, with AI attacks on the horizon

4 min read - Every year, IBM X-Force analysts assess the data collected across all our security disciplines to create the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, our annual report that plots changes in the cyber threat landscape to reveal trends and help clients proactively put security measures in place. Among the many noteworthy findings in the 2024 edition of the X-Force report, three major trends stand out that we’re advising security professionals and CISOs to observe: A sharp increase in abuse of valid accounts…

How I got started: Cyber AI/ML engineer

3 min read - As generative AI goes mainstream, it highlights the increasing demand for AI cybersecurity professionals like Maria Pospelova. Pospelova is currently a senior data scientist, and data science team lead at OpenText Cybersecurity. She also worked at Interest, an AI cybersecurity company acquired by MicroFocus and then by OpenText. She continues as part of that team today.Did you go to college? What did you go to school for?Pospelova: I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree…

Topic updates

Get email updates and stay ahead of the latest threats to the security landscape, thought leadership and research.
Subscribe today