Remote desktop cyberattacks top new high

Zero-day attack
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As employees around the world were busy making the transition to working from home (opens in new tab) last year, cybercriminals were quick to capitalize on the fact that their home networks lacked the security and safeguards found on corporate networks.

While some workers used VPN (opens in new tab) services to connect to their corporate networks, many relied on remote desktop software (opens in new tab)including Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP (opens in new tab)) which comes included with Windows 10. 

Due to the high number of users leveraging RDP, the cybersecurity firm ESET (opens in new tab) saw a record 768 percent increase in RDP attack attempts last year, according to its Q4 2020 Threat Report (opens in new tab).

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Chief research officer at ESET, Roman Kováč explained in a press release (opens in new tab) how cybercriminals often use RDP as a means to deploy ransomware (opens in new tab), saying:

“RDP security is not to be underestimated especially due to ransomware, which is commonly deployed through RDP exploits, and, with its increasingly aggressive tactics, poses a great risk to both private and public sectors. As the security of remote work gradually improves, the boom in attacks exploiting RDP is expected to slow down – we already saw some signs of this in Q4.”

2020 Threats

ESET's Q4 2020 Threat Report also offers further insight on how the cybersecurity firm took part in a global disruption campaign alongside Microsoft, FS-ISAC, Lumen's Black Lotus Labs, NTT and Broadcom's cybersecurity division Symantec to take down TrickBot (opens in new tab)

By working together to disrupt one of the largest and longest-lived botnets, the firms coordinated efforts resulted in 94 percent of TrickBot's servers being taken down in a single week.

The Q4 2020 Threat Report also goes into detail about how ESET researchers discovered a previously unknown APT group named XDSpy which targeted the Balkans and Eastern Europe as well as how the firm discovered a remarkable number of supply chain attacks (opens in new tab) last year.

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Via The Register (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.