Incident Response Analyst Report 2019 Obtain full report (PDF)

As an incident response service supplier, Kaspersky delivers a world service that ends in world visibility of adversaries’ cyber-incident ways and strategies used within the wild. On this report, we share our groups’ conclusions and evaluation primarily based on incident responses and statistics from 2019. In addition to a spread of highlights, this report will cowl the affected industries, probably the most widespread assault ways and strategies, how lengthy it took to detect and cease adversaries after preliminary entry and probably the most exploited vulnerabilities. The report additionally supplies some high-level suggestions on how one can enhance resilience to assaults.

The insights used on this report come from incident investigations by Kaspersky groups from world wide. The primary digital forensic and incident response operations unit is known as the International Emergency Response Staff (GERT) and consists of specialists in Europe, Latin America, North America, Russia and the Center East. The work of the Pc Incidents Investigation Unit (CIIU) and the International Analysis and Evaluation Staff (GReAT) are additionally included on this report.

Government abstract

In 2019, we observed higher dedication amongst victims to know the foundation causes of cyberattacks and enhance the extent of cybersecurity inside their environments to cut back the chance of comparable assaults going down once more sooner or later.

Evaluation confirmed that lower than 1 / 4 of obtained requests turned out to be false positives, largely after safety instruments issued alerts about suspicious recordsdata or exercise. The vast majority of true constructive incidents had been triggered by the invention of suspicious recordsdata, adopted by encrypted recordsdata, suspicious exercise and alerts from safety instruments.

Many of the incident dealing with requests had been obtained from the Center East, Europe, the CIS and Latin America, from a large spectrum of enterprise sectors, together with industrial, monetary, authorities, telecoms, transportation and healthcare. Industrial companies had been probably the most affected by cyberattacks, with oil and fuel corporations main the way in which. They had been adopted by monetary establishments, dominated by banks, which bore the brunt of all cash theft incidents in 2019. Ransomware’s presence continued in 2019 and was felt most by authorities our bodies, telecoms and IT corporations in numerous areas.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

Verticals and industries

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

Adversaries used quite a lot of preliminary vectors to compromise victims’ environments. Preliminary vectors included exploitation, misconfiguration, insiders, leaked credentials and malicious detachable media. However the most typical had been exploitation of unpatched vulnerabilities, malicious emails, adopted by brute-force assaults.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

Along with exploiting vulnerabilities, adversaries used a number of authentic instruments in several assault phases. This made assaults more durable to find and allowed the adversaries to maintain a low profile till their targets had been achieved. Many of the authentic instruments had been used for credential harvesting from dwell techniques, evading safety, community discovery and unloading safety options.

Though we began engaged on incidents the primary day of a request in 70% of circumstances, evaluation revealed that the time between assault success and its discovery varies between a mean of someday in ransomware incidents to 10 days in circumstances of monetary theft, as much as 122 days in cyber-espionage and data-theft operations.


Primarily based on 2019 incident response insights, making use of the next suggestions may help defend companies from falling sufferer to comparable assaults:

  • Apply complicated password insurance policies
  • Keep away from administration interfaces uncovered to the web
  • Solely permit distant entry for needed exterior companies with multi-factor authentication – with needed privileges solely
  • Common system audits to determine weak companies and misconfigurations
  • Frequently tune safety instruments to keep away from false positives
  • Apply highly effective audit coverage with log retention interval of not less than six months
  • Monitor and examine all alerts generated by safety instruments
  • Patch your publicly accessible companies instantly
  • Improve your e mail safety and worker consciousness
  • Forbid use of PsExec to simplify safety operations
  • Risk searching with wealthy telemetry, particularly deep tracing of PowerShell to detect assaults
  • Shortly interact safety operations after discovering incidents to cut back potential harm and/or information loss
  • Again up your information continuously and on separated infrastructure

Causes for incident response

Vital results on infrastructure, reminiscent of encrypted belongings, cash loss, information leakage or suspicious emails, led to 30% of requests for investigations. Greater than 50% of requests got here on account of alerts in safety toolstacks: endpoint (EPP, EDR), community (NTA) and others (FW, IDS/IPS, and so on.).

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

Organizations usually solely turn out to be conscious of an incident after a noticeable affect, even when customary safety toolstacks have already produced alerts figuring out some elements of the assault. Lack of safety operations workers is the most typical cause for lacking these indicators. Suspicious recordsdata recognized by safety operations and suspicious endpoint exercise led to the invention of an incident in 75% of circumstances, whereas suspicious community actions in 60% of circumstances had been false positives.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

Probably the most frequent causes for an incident response service request is a ransomware assault: a problem even for mature safety operations. For extra particulars on varieties of ransomware and how one can fight it, view our story “Cities underneath ransomware siege“.

Distribution of causes for high areas

A suspicious file is probably the most prevalent cause to have interaction incident response companies. This exhibits that file-oriented detection is the preferred method in lots of organizations. The distribution additionally exhibits that 100% of circumstances involving monetary cybercrime and information leakage that we investigated occurred in CIS international locations.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

Distribution of causes for industries

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

Though, completely different industries suffered from completely different incidents, 100% of cash theft incidents occurred contained in the monetary business (banks).

Detection of ransomware as soon as the repercussions had been felt occurred primarily throughout the authorities, telecom and IT sectors.

Preliminary vectors or how adversaries get in

Frequent preliminary vectors embrace the exploitation of vulnerabilities (0- and 1-day), malicious emails and brute-force assaults. Patch administration for 1-day vulnerabilities and making use of password insurance policies (or not utilizing administration interfaces on the web) are effectively suited to handle most circumstances. 0-day vulnerabilities and social engineering assaults by way of e mail are a lot more durable to handle and require a good degree of maturity from inner safety operations.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

By linking the favored preliminary compromise vectors with how an incident was detected, we will see detected suspicious recordsdata had been detected from malicious emails. And circumstances detected after file encryption largely occurred after brute-force or vulnerability exploitation assaults.
Generally we act as complimentary specialists for a major incident response workforce from the sufferer’s group and now we have no info on all of their findings – therefore the ‘Unknown causes’ on the charts. Malicious emails are almost certainly to be detected by quite a lot of safety toolstack, however that’s not exhibiting distrubution of 0- to 1-day vulnerabilities.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

The distribution of how lengthy an assault went unnoticed and the way a company was compromised exhibits that circumstances that start with vulnerability exploitation on a company’s community perimeter went unnoticed for longest. Social enginnering assaults by way of e mail had been probably the most short-lived.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

30% of all incidents had been tied to authentic instruments

In cyberattacks, adversaries use authentic instruments which might’t be detected as malicious utilities as they’re usually utilized in on a regular basis actions. Suspicious occasions that mix with regular exercise may be recognized after deep evaluation of a malicious assault and connecting using such instruments to the incident. The highest used instruments are PowerShell, PsExec, SoftPerfect Community Scanner and ProcDump.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

Most authentic instruments are used for harvesting credentials from reminiscence, evading safety mechanisms by unloading safety options and for locating companies within the community. PowerShell can be utilized just about for any process.

Let’s weight these instruments primarily based on prevalence in incidents – we can even see ways (MITRE ATT&CK) the place they’re normally utilized.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019


Many of the recognized exploits in incident circumstances appeared in 2019 together with a well known distant code execution vulnerability in Home windows SMB service (MS17-010) being actively exploited by numerous adversaries.

MS17-010 SMB service in Microsoft Home windows
Distant code execution vulnerability that was utilized in a number of massive assaults reminiscent of WannaCry, NotPetya, WannaMine, and so on.
CVE-2019-0604 Microsoft Sharepoint
Distant code execution vulnerability permits adversaries to execute arbitrary code with out authentication in Microsoft Sharepoint.
CVE-2019-19781 Citrix Software Supply Controller & Citrix Gateway
This vulnerability permits unauthenticated distant code execution on all hosts linked to Citrix infrastructure.
CVE-2019-0708 RDP service in Microsoft Home windows
Distant code execution vulnerability (codename: BlueKeep) for a really widespread and, sadly, continuously publicly accessible RDP service.
CVE-2018-7600 Drupal
Distant code execution vulnerability also referred to as Drupalgeddon2. Extensively utilized in set up of backdoors, internet miners and different malware on compromised internet servers.
CVE-2019-11510 Pulse Safe SSL VPN
Unauthenticated retrieval of VPN server consumer credentials. Immediate entry to sufferer group via authentic channel.

Assault length

For quite a few incidents, Kaspersky specialists have established the time interval between the start of an adversary’s exercise and the tip of the assault. Because of the following evaluation, all incidents had been divided into three classes of assault length.

Rush hours or days Common weeks Lengthy-lasting months or longer
This class consists of assaults lasting as much as per week. These are primarily incidents involving ransomware assaults. Because of the excessive velocity of growth, efficient counteraction to those assaults is feasible solely by preventive strategies.
In some circumstances, a delay of as much as per week has been noticed between the preliminary compromise and the start of the adversary’s exercise.
This group consists of assaults which have been creating for per week or a number of weeks. Normally, this exercise was aimed on the direct theft of cash. Sometimes, the adversaries achieved their targets inside per week. Incidents that lasted greater than a month had been included on this group. This exercise is nearly at all times aimed toward stealing delicate information.
Such assaults are characterised by interchanging lively and passive phases. The full length of lively phases is on common near the length of assaults from the earlier group.
Frequent risk:
Ransomware an infection
Frequent risk:
Monetary theft
Frequent risk:
Cyber-espionage and theft of confidential information
Frequent assault vector:
  • Downloading of a malicious file by hyperlink in e mail
  • Downloading of a malicious file from contaminated website
  • Exploitation of vulnerabilities on community perimeter
  • Credentials brute-force assault
Frequent assault vector:
  • Downloading a malicious file by hyperlink in e mail
  • Exploitation of vulnerabilities on community perimeter
Frequent assault vector:
  • Exploitation of vulnerabilities on community perimeter
Assault length (median):
1 day
Assault length (median):
10 days
Assault length (median):
122 days
Incident response length:
Hours to days
Incident response length:
Incident response length:

Operational metrics

False positives charge

False positives in incident responses are a really costly train. A false constructive signifies that triage of a safety occasion led to the involvement of incident response specialists who later ascertained that there was no incident. Often this can be a signal that a company doesn’t have a specialist in risk searching or they’re managed by an exterior SOC that doesn’t have the complete context for an occasion.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

Age of assault

That is the time taken to detect an incident by a company after an assault begins. Often detecting the assault within the first few hours and even days is nice; with extra low-profile assaults it might take weeks, which continues to be OK, however taking months or years is certainly unhealthy.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

How briskly we responded

How lengthy it took us to reply after a company contacted us. 70% of the time we begin work from day one, however in some circumstances quite a lot of elements can affect the timeframe.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

How lengthy response took

Distribution of the time required for incident response actions can differ from just a few hours to months primarily based on how deep the adversaries had been capable of dig into the compromised community and the way outdated the primary compromise is.

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

MITRE ATT&CK ways and strategies

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019

Incident Response Analyst Report 2019


In 2019, the cyberattack curve was not flattened. There was a rise within the variety of incidents accompanied by higher dedication amongst victims to know the complete assault image. Victims from all areas suffered from quite a lot of assaults and all enterprise varieties had been focused.

Improved safety and audit planning with steady upkeep of procedures together with speedy patch administration might have minimized damages and losses in most of the analyzed incidents. As well as, having safety monitoring and an investigation plan both on-premises or carried out by a 3rd occasion might have helped in stopping adversaries within the early phases of the assault chain, or begin detections instantly after compromise.

Varied ways and strategies had been utilized by adversaries to realize their targets, making an attempt a number of occasions until they succeeded. This means the significance of safety being an organized course of with steady enhancements as an alternative of separate, impartial actions.

Adversaries made higher use of authentic instruments in several phases of their cyberattacks, particularly within the early phases. This highlights the necessity to monitor and justify using authentic administration instruments and scanning utilities inside inner networks, limiting their use to directors and needed actions solely.

Making use of a robust auditing coverage with a log retention interval of not less than six months may help scale back evaluation occasions throughout incident investigation and assist restrict the varieties of harm induced. Having inadequate logs on endpoints and community ranges means it takes longer to gather and analyze proof from completely different information sources with the intention to acquire a whole image of an assault.

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