Security Now
Security is top-of-mind everywhere, especially right here where Juniper experts share their thoughts on the latest security breakthroughs and product advancements
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Do you mean 

Top Trends in Cyber Attacks 2012

by KyleAdams on ‎12-19-2012 03:14 PM

As the year draws to a close, we at Juniper thought it would be useful to reflect on some of the most interesting developments in the threat landscape in 2012. Are the same attack methods taking center-stage or have new approaches entered the scene? How are companies responding to data breaches?


To find out, let’s review the biggest trends in cyber attacks based on our security research and conversations with key customers, partners and friends in the industry.


1. Simple attack methods on web applications remain effective

Many of the large public companies compromised in the last year fell victim to web application vulnerabilities like SQL Injection and Cross Site Scripting. These types of attacks have been known about for several years and remain a popular hacking method because of the relatively low level of sophistication needed and the potential difficulty in preventing them. For instance, the Yahoo breach earlier this year was a result of a federated SQL Injection attack. The attack was easy and quick to carry out, yet destructive in nature.


2. Mobile malware and application-centric threats continue to pose a risk to enterprise data

With the continued adoption of Bring Your Own Device policies in the workplace, the risk of mobile malware and invasive applications infiltrating critical corporate data continues to be a top concern. Indeed, 2012 saw a significant increase in the amount of malware and invasive apps aimed at mobile users with a 350 percent increase in mobile malware from Oct. 2011-Oct. 2012, and free applications being four times more likely to track user location and three times more likely to access address books than paid apps.


3. Increased transparency about data breaches

As the frequency of data breaches continues to increase, companies are judged more on how they handle incidents than if they experience an issue. It seems that many companies, who in the past would have hidden a breach, are now being open and honest about it with the public and their customers. Many companies are still not providing extreme detail about the nature of a breach, but they are taking a publicity risk by acknowledging their existence. Ultimately, this is a very promising development in the industry because it will help raise awareness about the importance of security.


4. Increase in politically motivated attacks

Following the success of Anonymous and Lulz Security to capture the public’s attention, 2012 saw several new politically motivated actors enter the threat landscape. Several new groups have entered the scene including a group based in the Middle Eastern that claimed responsibility for attacks of Saudi Aramco. Team Ghost Shell exposed information for several government agencies and trolling group GNAA were also successful in spreading a worm through Tumblr.


5. Botnets take a beating

Building on earlier success, public/private partnerships were successful in taking down several prominent botnets responsible for everything from spam to the Zeus banking Trojan. Through a combination of forensic security research and novel legal arguments, researchers were able to block the command and control systems of some of the most infamous botnets. 


6. Sophisticated mobile NFC vulnerabilities exposed

Possibly the most interesting development in the mobile security space is several vulnerabilities exposed related to the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. NFC has been around for a decade, but 2012 marked an upswing in the U.S. with mass availability of financial and “mobile wallet” apps using the technology. And, it’s already proven to be a popular use case for demonstrating potential security hacks. At Black Hat this year, security researchers demonstrated how easy it is to remotely control a device by exploiting NFC. While an actual hack has yet to occur on a NFC-based mobile application, the technology will remain a likely target as consumer adoption increases.


7. Advanced Attacks Targeting Government Infrastructure

While the existence of state-sponsored cyberattacks and espionage on critical government and business systems has existed for years, 2012 saw a significant uptick in sophisticated malware and other attacks. We learned about several new attacks aimed squarely at key government interests in the Middle East including recent Flame and Gauss cyber-espionage malware. Responding to these threats, we’ve seen several countries invest in new cybersecurity capabilities, including the U.K. and Hong Kong. 


These are just a few top trends we noticed, but realize there are several others. What are some of the most interesting cyber security trends you saw in the last year?


Juniper Innovators Circle
About the Author
  • Andrew is a Juniper Distinguished Engineer responsible for the architecture of Juniper's network management user interfaces.
  • Asher Langton is a senior software engineer and malware researcher on Juniper's Sky ATP team.
  • Aviram Zrahia is a consulting engineer at Juniper Networks and an industry researcher of cyberspace. He holds a CISSP and GCIH certifications, as well as a bachelor's degree in computer science and MBA in management of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. He is also a research fellow in the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center (ICRC) at Tel Aviv University, currently focusing on the domain of threat intelligence sharing.
  • Bill is the Director of Federal Certifications and Policy at Juniper Networks. In this role, Bill focuses on several areas unique to the needs of Federal Government customers, including product certifications, IPv6, and security. Bill came to Juniper Networks in January 2008 after more than 20 years in the IT community working with commercial enterprise customers, service providers, and the US Federal Government. Bill started his career as an engineering officer in the US Air Force after graduating with a Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Bill has an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Brad Minnis, CPP is the Senior Director of Corporate Environmental, Health, Safety & Security for Juniper Networks, Inc. based in Sunnyvale, CA, where he is responsible for strategic design, implementation and management of the company’s security, safety, environment, crisis management and business continuity functions. He also leads the company’s efforts in corporate citizenship and sustainability, and manages the Corporation’s government-related security programs. Mr. Minnis has over 30 years experience in the Silicon Valley and has managed EHSS operations for a number of high tech companies, including Juniper Networks, 3Com Corporation, and National Semiconductor Corporation. Mr. Minnis’ specialties include security management, supply chain and product integrity, anti-counterfeit, occupational health and safety and crisis management. In his role as Cyber Incident Response Team Leader for Juniper, Mr. Minnis has managed numerous high impact cyber-related incidents and cross-functional responses. Mr. Minnis served for ten years in the United States Navy and has served in leadership positions the International Security Management Association (ISMA) and ASIS International, serving as Chairman of the San Francisco Chapter in 2003. He has also co-written several publications on software integrity assurance and supply chain security with organizations such as SAFECode. Mr. Minnis is certified as a Protection Professional by the Professional Certification Board of ASIS International and attended the University of Connecticut, where he received two certificates in Environmental, Health and Safety
  • Craig Dods is the Architect for Security within Juniper Networks' Strategic Verticals. He currently maintains multiple top-level industry certifications including his JNCIE-SEC, holds multiple networking and security-related patents, as well as having disclosed multiple critical-level CVE's in a responsible manner. Prior to joining Juniper, Craig served as IBM's Managed Security Services' Chief Security Architect, and held previous security roles at Check Point Software Technologies and Nokia.
  • François Prowse is a Senior Systems Engineer for Juniper Networks, based in Brisbane Australia. Francois joined Juniper in 2006 as part of the New Zealand SE team, subsequently relocating to Australia. Prior to Juniper, Francois worked for four years at Alcatel in both operational and architectural roles, being jointly responsible for the construction of New Zealands' largest MPLS core network. Prior to Alcatel, Francois worked at UUnet, focusing on core network expansion in Europe. In all previous roles JUNOS has been the driving factor behind day to day operations, providing him with over 8 years of operational experience. Francois is a Juniper Networks Certified Internet Expert (JNCIE #144) which he obtained prior to joining Juniper Networks.
  • Greg Sidebottom is a Senior Engineering Manager in the Identity and Policy Management business unit at Juniper Networks. Greg has spent the last decade plus conceptualizing, architecting, designing, and leading the implementation of Juniper's SDX and SRC families of policy based service management applications. Previous to this, Greg held positions in the software and networking industries at Siemens, Cognos, Nortel, GTE labs subsidiary MPR Teltech, and the Alberta Research Council. Greg is an author of eight invention disclosures resulting in two patents issued and three pending. Greg holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science for the University of Calgary and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Computing Science from Simon Fraser University.
  • Jennifer Blatnik is vice president of cloud, security and enterprise portfolio marketing at Juniper Networks with focus on enterprise deployments of security, routing, switching, and SDN products, as well as cloud solutions. She has more than 20 years of experience helping enterprises solve network security challenges. Before joining Juniper, Jennifer served multiple roles at Cisco Systems, Inc., including directing product management for security technologies aimed at small to medium enterprises, as well as supporting managed services, cloud service architectures and go-to-market strategies. She holds a B.A. in Computer Science from University of California, Berkeley.
  • Jim Kelly, Senior Product Line Manager – CTP Products Juniper Networks. Jim Kelly is the senior product line manager for the CTP products where he is responsible for the CTP product direction, marketing and circuit emulation applications within Juniper Networks. Mr. Kelly has more than 28 years of experience in the networking industry in technical roles, sales, marketing, and product management positions. He started his career in the United States Air Force. He has worked for Wang, Digital Telecom Systems, American Airlines, Network Equipment Technologies, Carrier Access, and Nortel Networks. He started Juniper Networks federal DoD sales in July 2000 and joined Juniper Networks again in October 2005 through the acquisition of Acorn Packet Solutions where he was the director of sales and marketing.
  • Justin Ryburn is a Consulting Engineer at Juniper Networks. He holds an MBA and a MS in IT Management from Webster University as well as numerous industry certifications. Justin contributed content for Cyber Forensics (Auerbach Publishing, 2007), wrote Juniper's Day One Guide on Deploying BGP Flowspec, and has spoken at numerous industry conferences on BGP Flowspec. Prior to joining Juniper, Justin held various operations, engineering, and sales engineering positions over his 20-year career with companies such Savvis, Nortel, XO, and Charter.
  • Mark Belk is the National Government Chief Architect at Juniper Networks
  • 30 Years in Book Publishing, 20 years in Technical Book Publishing, including Apple Developer Press, Adobe Press, Nokia Developer Books, Palm Books, and since 2001, almost 10 years as consulting editor/editor in chief for Juniper Networks Book. Joined the company and started the Day One book line and in 2011, the new This Week book line.
  • Solutions Marketing Sr Manager
  • Jonathan Looney is a Senior Staff Courseware Developer at Juniper Networks. Before joining Juniper, he performed network engineering for a large enterprise, a regional ISP, and an application service provider (ASP). The holder of several industry certifications, he enjoys the freedom his job at Juniper gives him to both continually learn and also to share his knowledge with others through a wide range of media.
  • Scott is the Director of Product Marketing for Mobile Security at Juniper Networks. In his 20+ years in high tech, Scott has worked on Mobile and Endpoint Security, Network Security, IPS, Managed Services, Network Infrastructure, Co-location, Microprocessor Architecture, Unix Servers and Network Adapters. He has held leadership roles at Check Point, McAfee, Symantec, Exodus Communications, Cable & Wireless, Savvis, and HP.
  • Sherry Ryan is IT Vice President and CISO of Juniper Networks. Previously, Sherry held similar positions at Blue Shield of California, Hewlett-Packard, Safeway and Levi Strauss where she established and led their information security programs. Sherry holds the Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) certification from ISACA and the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification from ISC2. She is a member of the High Tech Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA) and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA). Sherry has a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands, and earned her MBA from the College of Notre Dame.
  • Network/Application Vulnerability Researcher. Having interests in Photography as well.
About Security Now

Discussing a wide range of topics impacting enterprises and
data center security.

Subscribe RSS Icon

Our Bloggers

Jennifer Blatnik
Vice President
Enterprise Portfolio Marketing

Profile | Subscribe

Ritesh Agrawal
Software Engineering

Profile | Subscribe

Scott Emo
Product Marketing

Profile | Subscribe

Bill Shelton
Director Field Sales

Profile | Subscribe