VMware warns of tumultuous threats amid Russia-Ukraine cyber war

Abstract silhouette of a computer hacker in front of a Russian flag
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65% of threat defenders claim cyberattacks have increased since Russia invaded Ukraine, according to VMware’s eighth annual Global Incident Response Threat Report.

The firm’s threat intelligence report also spotlights emerging perils such as deepfakes, attacks on APIs, and cyber cartels’ coercion techniques, including cyber attacks targeting incident responders.

A startling 47% of incident responders said they experienced burnout or extreme stress in the past 12 months, a small decline from 51% in 2021. Additionally, e-crime groups’ collaborations on the dark web fortify ransomware attackers’ cyber extortion strategies, with 57% of respondents claiming to encounter such attacks in the past 12 months.

“Cybercriminals are now incorporating deepfakes into their attack methods to evade security controls,” said Rick McElroy, principal cybersecurity strategist at VMware.

“Two out of three respondents in our report saw malicious deepfakes used as part of an attack, a 13% increase from last year, with email as the top delivery method. Cybercriminals have evolved beyond using synthetic video and audio simply for influence operations or disinformation campaigns. Their new goal is to use deepfake technology to compromise organizations and gain access to their environment,” added McElroy.

VMware’s report also describes APIs as “the next frontier” for attackers. Data exposure (encountered by 42% of respondents in the past year), SQL and API injection attacks (37% and 34%, respectively), and distributed Denial-of-Service attacks (33%), are among the top types of API attacks witnessed last year.

Furthermore, a lateral movement was seen in 25% of all attacks, as cybercriminals exploited script hosts (49%), file storage (46%), PowerShell (45%), business communications platforms (41%), and .NET (39%) to snoop within networks.

However, regardless of mounting risks, 87% of incident responders indicated they are able to sabotage cybercriminals' attempts sometimes (50%) or very often (37%).