Cybersecurity Round-Up to Record-Break DDoS Attack and AI’s Growing Threat
In a month rife with cybersecurity developments, the world witnessed the largest-ever DDoS attack, a UK report warning about the potential risks of AI, and various other significant stories. Here’s a breakdown of the most pressing cybersecurity news from the past month.
Unprecedented DDoS attack targets major companies
Major tech giants, including Google and Amazon, recently thwarted what is being dubbed the world’s largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Such attacks aim to render websites inaccessible by inundating them with a barrage of data requests, often leading to site crashes and service interruptions.
The attack, which began in August, saw Google’s site bombarded with a staggering 398 million requests per second, marking a 7.5-fold increase from the previous largest attack. Cloudflare, a leading cybersecurity firm, reported that the attack was three times larger than any they had previously encountered, with rates exceeding 201 million requests per second.
The attackers exploited a vulnerability in HTTP/2, a recent version of the HTTP network protocol. In response, Google, Amazon, and Cloudflare are urging businesses to update their web servers to mitigate such vulnerabilities. Google specifically highlighted the importance of addressing the vulnerability associated with CVE-2023-44487.
AI to amplify cybersecurity threats
A new report from the UK government has raised concerns about the potential cybersecurity risks posed by generative AI. The report, titled “Safety and Security Risks of Generative Artificial Intelligence to 2025,” suggests that AI could pave the way for more sophisticated and large-scale cyber intrusions, such as advanced phishing methods or malware replication.
While the report does not anticipate fully automated hacking by 2025, it does predict that AI will likely amplify existing digital risks, including cyberattacks, online fraud, and impersonation. On a positive note, the report also foresees generative AI bolstering defenses against cyber threats.
This UK report aligns with global efforts to establish AI governance frameworks. Notably, the World Economic Forum recently launched the AI Governance Alliance, and the UN initiated a global advisory panel on AI governance.
Other noteworthy cybersecurity developments
- Relief Group Attacks:Hacktivists have disrupted the operations of relief groups aiding Israel and Gaza, targeting infrastructure, emergency alerts, and causing numerous website outages via DDoS attacks. Roberto Cingolani, CEO of Italian defense firm Leonardo, emphasized the need for European countries to store sensitive data on government-controlled cloud services.
- Octo Tempest’s Rise:Microsoft has identified the Octo Tempest cybercrime collective as one of the world’s most formidable financial criminal groups. The group has been leveraging sophisticated social engineering campaigns to extort companies since early 2022.
- Cisco’s Major Acquisition: In its largest acquisition to date, Cisco Systems is set to acquire cybersecurity firm Splunk for $28 billion, a company renowned for its expertise in data observability.
- Healthcare Cybersecurity Toolkit: Recognizing the vulnerability of healthcare organizations, the US CISA and Department of Health and Human Services have unveiled a cybersecurity toolkit tailored for the healthcare sector.
- CIA’s Social Media Glitch: A cybersecurity researcher exploited a flaw in the CIA’s social media account on platform X, redirecting informants attempting to contact the CIA to his personal Telegram channel.
Cyber resilience in the digital age
As cybercrime increasingly transcends borders, the challenges of addressing these threats grow in complexity. The integration of digital technologies in various sectors, especially manufacturing, presents new opportunities for cybercriminals. Collaborative efforts, such as the Forum’s Cyber Resilience in Manufacturing initiative, are crucial in developing collective strategies to bolster cyber resilience.
Furthermore, the looming “Y2Q” problem, reminiscent of the Y2K bug, highlights the potential vulnerabilities quantum computers could introduce. As our digital footprints expand, so too do concerns about personal data privacy, leading to the implementation of “right to be forgotten” rules in certain regions.
As the digital landscape evolves, staying abreast of cybersecurity developments and threats is more crucial than ever.