CrowdStrike Threat Hunting Report 2022 – The Findings

CrowdStrike has recently released its fourth annual Falcon OverWatch threat hunting report. The report aims to inform businesses of the current adversary tactics and notable intrusions that have occurred so far in 2022. It starts by interrogating observed interactive threat actor behaviours and then uses that data to examine how and where cybercriminals are operating. The report offers a comprehensive overview of the threat landscape alongside practical recommendations to protect your business in 2022 and beyond. 

Key Findings 

The global threat report revealed record volumes of hands-on intrusion attempts along with distinct changes in attack trends and cybercriminal tradecraft. In the 12-month period of the report, threat hunters directly identified more than 77,000 potential intrusions, equating to approximately one intrusion every seven minutes. This represented thousands of occasions where human-led threat hunting uncovered adversaries actively trying to avoid autonomous detection at various stages of the attack chain. The report highlights that there was a 50 per cent increase in interactive intrusion campaigns but that over one million malicious events were prevented by the Falcon platform derived from OverWatch. Ultimately, every potential intrusion offers the Falcon platform an opportunity to learn, detect, and prevent similar intrusions from occurring.

Interactive Intrusion and Adversary Trends

The report took a retrospective look at the tools adversaries are leveraging, including emerging tools, trending tools, and those that have remained persistently popular. A number of trends were found to be typical over the past year, shining through the increase of newly disclosed vulnerabilities and zero-days, including:

  • A vast array of affiliates are capitalising on the availability of ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS), contributing to wide variations in eCrime tradecraft. 
  • There was a near 50% increase in interactive intrusion campaigns, with the most recent quarter, April to June 2022, uncovering more than any previous quarter. 
  • Where attribution was possible, financially motivated eCrime activity was yet again the dominant threat type. Meanwhile, targeted intrusions increased to 18%. 
  • Interactive intrusion activity spanned 37 distinct industries, proving that no industry is immune and every business should remain vigilant.
  • The technology sector played a critical role in supporting business operations. This reliance lead to cybercriminals targeting technology companies in an attempt to compromise supply chains or trusted relationships. 
  • Technology companies are also sought-after targets for ransomware campaigns by eCrime adversaries due to the potential value of owned data.
  • The telecommunications industry remained in second place, with targeted intrusion adversaries conducting operations to fulfil their surveillance and counterintelligence priorities. 
  • Healthcare, manufacturing, and academia were also amongst the top five targeted industries over the past year.
  • OverWatch uncovered interactive intrusion activity conducted by 36 distinct named threat actors, spanning seven groups. 
  • For hands-on eCrime intrusion activity, the average time it took a cybercriminal to move laterally from an initially compromised host to another within the environment was just 1 hour and 24 minutes. For 30% of these intrusions, breakout time was under 30 minutes. 
  • Malware-free activity accounted for 71% of all detections, in part due to the prolific abuse of valid credentials to facilitate access as well as persistence within victim environments.
  • Cybercriminals are now confidently navigating through cloud-based assets to advance their intrusions.

The Future of Threat Hunting

Unfortunately, the only thing guaranteed in the world of threat hunting is change as cybercriminals continue to adapt. To account for this, OverWatch continually develops its technology and adapts to shifts in behaviour. As cybercriminals follow the increasing cloud adoption trend, they will continue to improve their abilities in navigating and exploiting cloud workloads in order to take advantage of underlying gaps in organisational defences. This creates an increasingly expansive and complex attack surface for businesses to defend. However, OverWatch threat hunters are also actively improving their cloud hunting capabilities and incorporating innovative technologies that enable them to hone in on suspicious telemetry. 

For anyone with CrowdStrike Cloud Security looking to increase visibility and coverage of cloud-based resources, OverWatch now delivers proactive threat hunting for advanced threats originating, operating, and persisting in cloud environments. For those without CrowdStrike Cloud Security, OverWatch can still offer some visibility into cloud-based threats. 

OverWatch remains on the cutting edge of the threat landscape, providing its customers with the coverage needed to remain ahead of the threats posed both in the last 12 months and into the future. 

Bolster Your Defences

If you want to learn more about the threats your business is facing and have the power to make more proactive decisions about your security needs, both now and in the future, contact the experts at InfoTrust today. You can download the full CrowdStrike Threat Hunting Report from our resources library here.

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