January 14, 2013    /    by

EU report says cyber attacks target trust: From identities to infrastructure

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), which is a part of the European Union (EU), recently issued a report that describes the current global cyber threat landscape - including infrastructure.

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), which is a part of the European Union (EU), recently issued a report that describes the current global cyber threat landscape. The excellent report “is based on publicly available data and provides an independent view on observed threats, threat agents and threat trends. Over 140 recent reports from security industry, networks of excellence, standardization bodies and other independent institutes have been analysed.”

 In my view, the comprehensive approach used to create this PDF document makes it worth taking the time and energy to read throught the entire document in detail. The extensive coverage of topics includes definitions and activity in these areas of: “Drive-by exploits: Worms/Trojans , Code Injection Attacks, Exploit Kits, Botnets, Denial of service, Phishing, Compromising confidential information, Rogueware/Scareware, Spam, Targeted Attacks, Physical Theft/Loss/Damage, Identity Theft, Abuse of Information Leakage, Search Engine Poisoning, Rogue certificates.”

After coverage of these threats, the EU report covers major threat trends, including:

“The Emerging Threat Landscape

     - Threat Trends in Mobile Computing

     - Threat Trends in Social Technology

     - Threat Trends in Critical Infrastructures

     - Threat Trends in Trust Infrastructure

     - Threat Trends in Cloud Computing

     - Threat Trends in Big Data”

The coverage of each area includes specific topics and whether activity is up, sideways or down. One such area is “Trust Infrastructure,” which many in the U.S. cover under the “Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.”


 Emerging Threat: Trust Infrastructure

    Threat Trend

 1. Denial of service (an effective technique to attack trust infrastructure components and achieve impact by blocking access to relevant components, e.g., handshaking with SSL servers65)



 2. Rogue certificates (compromising trust relationships will be key in generating fake trust within components of trust infrastructure but also other systems using them)




3. Compromising confidential information (data breaches will have an impact in trust infrastructures, e.g., by providing valuable information to launch an attack)



4. Targeted attacks (spearphishing and APTs will remain a significant concern in this area)



As Bill Jackson points out in his compelling blog over at GCN, European wording used may be slightly different than in the USA, but the cyber protection work is very similar on both sides of the pond:

Among the programs under way, the administration is launching an initiative to use commercial cloud services to authenticate third-party credentials for accessing government sites, called the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange. The U.S. Postal Service will be operating an FCCX pilot.”

Again, I urge readers to take the time to read this latest European report and William Jackson’s GCN blog. It is clear that these cyber attacks against critical infrastructure are a continuing (and growing) global problem. It is good to see the comprehensive report coming from Europe.

What are your thoughts on the trends identified in this report?