Cybercriminals attack on vulnerabilities 43% faster during second half 2023

Cyber attackers are now acting speedier when capitalizing on newly identified exploits across the cybersecurity industry. Based on the recently released FortiGuard Labs 2H 2023 Global Threat Landscape Report by global cybersecurity leader Fortinet, attackers increased the speed with which they capitalized on new vulnerabilities by 43% in the second half of 2023 compared to the speed in the first half of 2023. 

“This shines a light on the need for vendors to dedicate themselves to internally discovering vulnerabilities and developing a patch before exploitation can occur,” said Fortinet analysts through the report. “It also reinforces that vendors must proactively and transparently disclose vulnerabilities to customers to ensure they have the information needed to effectively protect their assets before cyber adversaries can exploit N-day vulnerabilities.” 

Fortinet Philippines Country Manager Alan Reyes, VP for Marketing and Communications Asia and ANZ Rashish Pandey, and Systems Engineering Manager Nap Castillo during presscon coinciding with Accelerate Asia 2024 held in BGC on May 28.

 During the period, it was found that cyberattacks started on average 4.76 days following the public disclosure of the new exploits. This is how long it takes for a vulnerability to move from initial release to exploitation, whether vulnerabilities with a high Exploit Prediction Scoring System (EPSS) score get exploited faster, and whether it could predict the average time-to-exploitation using EPSS data.  

The report also highlighted Fortinet telemetry findings that up to 41% of organizations during the period detected exploits from signatures less than one month old and about 98% detected N-Day vulnerabilities that are over 15 years old. This reinforces the need to remain vigilant about security hygiene and a continued prompt for companies to act quickly through consistent patching and updating program, employing best practices and guidance from organizations such as Network Resilience Coalition to improve overall security of networks.  

Moreover, up to 44% of all ransomware and wiper samples targeted the industrial sectors. Across all Fortinet sensors, ransomware detections declined by 70% compared to the first half of 2023. This slowdown can be attributed to attackers shifting away from traditional “spray and pray” strategy to more of a targeted approach, aimed largely at the energy, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and automotive industries.  

“The evolving threat landscape in the Philippines necessitates a shift to a platform-centric approach in cybersecurity. Traditionally, disparate solutions can no longer manage the diverse technologies, hybrid work models, and IT/OT integration that characterize modern networks,” said Alan Reyes, Country Manager of Fortinet in the Philippines. 

“Fortinet’s AI-powered, unified security and network platform addresses these complexities by providing comprehensive and threat protection, automated vulnerability management, and streamlined operations. This integrated strategy not only reduces costs and operational complexity but also ensures that organizations can quickly adapt to new threats, thereby building robust and future-proof cybersecurity operations,” he added.