CrowdStrike 2024 Global Threat Report: Key Insights and Takeaways

CrowdStrike released its 2024 Global Threat Report, providing key insights into the evolving cyberthreat landscape. The report analyzes data from CrowdStrike’s threat graph, compiling threat intelligence from more than 220 billion security events per week across over 200 countries. CrowdStrike details noteworthy trends in eCrime, nation-state threats, and intrusions across all industries.

Readers gain perspective on the most prolific threat actors and their tactics, techniques, and procedures. The report also forecasts potential threats on the horizon and recommends proactive mitigation strategies. As cyberattacks become more sophisticated, CrowdStrike aims to inform organizations to strengthen their security postures against emerging threats.

Overview of CrowdStrike and the 2024 Global Threat Report

CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. is a globally recognized cybersecurity company headquartered in the United States that provides cloud-delivered solutions for next-generation endpoint protection and threat intelligence. Through the CrowdStrike Falcon platform, the organization offers 24/7 monitoring and protection for endpoints such as laptops, desktops, servers, virtual machines, and Internet of Things devices.

Key findings from the 2024 Global Threat Report

According to CrowdStrike’s 2024 Global Threat Report, there was a 75% increase in cloud environment intrusions and the record eCrime breakout time dropped to 2 minutes and 7 seconds. The report tracked over 230 adversaries across multiple regions in 2023. State-sponsored actors and criminal groups were actively targeting cloud infrastructure and remote workers, indicating a shift in tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Threat actors employ new tactics

Adversaries have adapted their methods to target expanded digital footprints created by increased remote work and cloud adoption. Phishing emails, malware, and ransomware were commonly used to gain initial access before moving laterally through networks. Once inside, threat actors stole credentials, planted backdoors, and encrypted data to disrupt operations.

CrowdStrike has observed adversaries collaborating to develop more sophisticated attacks, especially in the areas of malware, phishing lures, and initial access brokers. Criminal groups were also seen selling access to corporate networks on the dark web, enabling a wider range of eCrime actors to launch targeted attacks. Continued vigilance and proactive cyber defense strategies are required to counter the new tools, tactics, and alliances being forged between adversaries.

Key Findings From the CrowdStrike Threat Graph

The CrowdStrike Threat Graph analyzes trillions of events per week to provide real-time predictions, investigation, and hunting for malicious actors worldwide.### Continuous Monitoring and Visibility

The CrowdStrike Threat Graph provides continuous monitoring and visibility across an organization’s endpoints. By analyzing massive amounts of data in real time, the Threat Graph can detect threats as soon as they emerge and map how they spread across systems. This allows security teams to respond quickly and mitigate damage from attacks.

Contextualized Data and Relationships

The Threat Graph uses advanced analytics to find relationships between disparate data points and events. By correlating information from endpoints, networks, identities, and cloud workloads, the Threat Graph provides context around alerts and events. Security teams can see how threats are related and trace them back to their origin. The Threat Graph transforms raw data into actionable intelligence.

Scalability and Affordability

The Threat Graph is built on a massively scalable cloud-based architecture, allowing it to handle huge volumes of data. By leveraging the power of the crowd, the Threat Graph provides enterprise-level security at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions. Organizations of any size can benefit from capabilities that were previously only available to large enterprises with big budgets.

The CrowdStrike Threat Graph revolutionizes security operations. By analyzing and correlating huge amounts of data in real time, the Threat Graph provides the visibility, intelligence, and capabilities organizations need to get ahead of today’s advanced threats. With continuous monitoring, contextualized data, and scalability, the Threat Graph allows security teams to stop breaches in progress and transform their cyber defenses.

Insights on Ransomware and Cyber Extortion Threats

According to CrowdStrike’s 2024 Global Threat Report, ransomware attacks increased by 150% in 2023. The report found that cyber extortion incidents also rose by 100% during the same time period.

Ransomware Payments Surge

The payments demanded by cybercriminals deploying ransomware grew substantially in 2023. CrowdStrike reported a 200% increase in ransomware payments compared to 2022. Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting organizations that are willing and able to pay high ransoms, such as healthcare, education and financial services.

Healthcare Under Siege

Healthcare organizations were frequent targets of ransomware groups in 2023 due to the sensitive data they hold and their willingness to pay ransoms quickly. The Conti ransomware group in particular aggressively pursued healthcare targets last year. Conti was responsible for 54% of all cyber extortion incidents against healthcare organizations according to CrowdStrike’s report.

New Ransomware Variants Emerge

CrowdStrike’s threat researchers identified several new ransomware variants in 2023 that incorporated more advanced techniques to evade detection and maximize damage. The AstroLocker ransomware was notable for its rapid global spread last year, impacting over 200 organizations across North America, Europe and Asia in a 3-month span. AstroLocker incorporates multiple methods of evading detection and spreads via phishing emails with malicious attachments.

The insights from CrowdStrike’s 2024 Global Threat Report highlight the growing threat of ransomware and cyber extortion. Healthcare organizations in particular need to strengthen their cyber defenses and be on high alert. With new ransomware variants emerging that are more sophisticated and damaging, organizations must implement a multilayered approach to security that includes next-generation antivirus, endpoint detection and response, and 24/7 threat hunting. By leveraging advanced technologies and human expertise, organizations can better defend against the ransomware scourge.

Emerging Nation-State Sponsored Attacks

Increased Cyberattack Activity by Hostile Nations

According to CrowdStrike’s 2024 Global Threat Report, nation-state actors are increasingly utilizing cyberattacks to achieve strategic and political objectives. Cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure by hostile nations have doubled from 20% to 40% in the past year. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) suspects nation-state involvement behind prolonged network intrusions for the purposes of espionage, data theft, and disruption of systems.

China and Russia Lead in Cyber Operations

China and Russia continue to pose the greatest cyber threats, conducting the majority of nation-state cyber operations. China primarily focuses on cyber espionage and intellectual property theft to gain economic and technological advantages. Meanwhile, Russia aims to undermine Western democracies and alliances through disinformation campaigns, sabotage, and election interference.

Iran and North Korea Emerge as Destabilizing Forces

Iran and North Korea have emerged as increasingly destabilizing forces in cyberspace. Iran has conducted disruptive cyberattacks against enemies in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia and Israel. North Korea has expanded its cyber operations beyond its borders, stealing hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency to fund its weapons programs. Although less advanced than China and Russia, these nations pose real threats to global security and stability.

The CrowdStrike 2024 Global Threat Report demonstrates the various and increasingly complex dangers in cyberspace from nation-state actors. With many nations developing their cyber capabilities and the line between cyber espionage and cyberwarfare blurring, cyber threats are an urgent matter of national security in today’s digital world. Constant vigilance and public-private partnerships are necessary to detect and defend against these emerging nation-state sponsored attacks. Overall, nation-states show no signs of slowing their use of cyber operations to gain geopolitical advantages on the global stage.

Increased Exploitation of Vendor Relationships

According to CrowdStrike’s 2024 Global Threat Report, there has been a 34% increase in new threat actors targeting supply chain infrastructure and third-party vendor access. Adversaries are aware of the interdependent nature of most organizations and their external partners, vendors, and suppliers. By compromising trusted third-party vendor access and software, adversaries can gain access to their ultimate targets while obscuring their tracks.

Rise in Watering Hole Attacks

Another troubling trend noted in the report is the rise in “watering hole” attacks, where adversaries compromise trusted software and websites that targeted organizations frequently access, in order launch attacks. For example, by hacking a popular accountancy software used by their victims, adversaries were able to distribute malware to numerous organizations through software updates. These types of supply chain attacks are particularly difficult to defend against given their stealthy nature.

Increased Nation-State Activity

The CrowdStrike report highlights increased activity from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea in targeting software supply chains and third-party access. In particular, China-based adversaries were responsible for over half of the supply chain-related incidents observed. Their motivations are typically cyber-espionage and intellectual property theft. Nation-state actors have virtually limitless resources, and their attacks demonstrate a high level of sophistication, making them a particularly dangerous threat to supply chain security.

In summary, the major trends around supply chain compromise and third-party risk observed in the CrowdStrike 2024 Global Threat Report are the rise in new threat groups, increase in watering hole attacks, and escalating nation-state activity targeting software supply chains and vendor access. Organizations must make securing their supply chains and managing third-party risk a top priority to defend against these stealthy and impactful attacks. Continuous monitoring, strong access controls, and cyber threat intelligence are critical tools in this fight.

Securing the Remote and Hybrid Workforce

As the threat landscape evolves, organizations must implement proactive security strategies to protect their remote and hybrid workforces. According to CrowdStrike’s 2024 Global Threat Report, the top threats targeting remote workers include ransomware, phishing attacks, and unsecured home networks.###

To mitigate these risks, companies should educate employees on secure practices and verify identities to enhance security for remote and hybrid teams. Implementing a zero-trust policy, which verifies users’ identities and limits access to only authorized resources, is an effective approach. Regular security awareness training helps make remote workforces more vigilant against phishing attempts and other threats.

Transforming organizational culture and targeting individual behavior are also key to securing hybrid workforces. Gaining leadership support for security initiatives encourages employees to make it a priority. Identifying the root causes that lead to risky behavior enables companies to develop tailored security policies and controls. For example, if employees access corporate resources from unsecured home networks out of convenience, the organization could issue security keys or tokens to facilitate remote access via a virtual private network.

With remote and hybrid work becoming standard, proactively managing risks to these workforces is critical. A multi-pronged approach that combines technology solutions with education, policy, and cultural change is optimal. While cyber threats continue to evolve, companies that make workforce security a strategic priority will be well-positioned to protect their people and assets. Overall, securing hybrid workforces requires vigilance, collaboration, and a shared responsibility between organizations and their employees to cultivate a culture of cyber awareness.

Leveraging CrowdStrike Falcon for Threat Detection and Response

CrowdStrike Falcon Platform

The CrowdStrike Falcon platform leverages cloud-native architecture and AI to deliver real-time protection and actionable intelligence. The Falcon sensor is lightweight and streamlines endpoint security by delivering multiple capabilities via a single agent. The Falcon platform provides endpoint protection, detection and response (EDR), managed threat hunting, IT hygiene, vulnerability management, and threat intelligence.

CrowdStrike Threat Graph and Threat Intelligence

The CrowdStrike Threat Graph, one of the world’s largest multi-petabyte databases, uses AI and behavioral pattern matching to analyze and understand adversary tactics, techniques, and procedures. The Threat Graph powers the Falcon platform by correlating over 3 trillion security events per week to stop breaches. CrowdStrike’s industry-leading threat intelligence provides real-time visibility into adversary activity, new vulnerabilities, and industry trends.

Falcon Prevent: Next-Generation Antivirus

Falcon Prevent replaces legacy antivirus with a cloud-native AI solution that stops malware and zero-day attacks in real time. It leverages AI to automatically block known and unknown malware, exploits, and fileless attacks across endpoints. Falcon Prevent provides robust machine learning protection with minimal impact on endpoint performance.

Falcon Insight: Endpoint Detection and Response

Falcon Insight delivers real-time endpoint visibility, protection, and response. It leverages AI and behavioral indicators of attack to detect and block advanced threats. Security teams gain unparalleled visibility into endpoint activity and can hunt for threats, conduct investigations, and remediate incidents to stop breaches. Falcon Insight integrates detection, prevention, and response in a single lightweight agent.

In summary, the CrowdStrike Falcon platform provides a holistic set of capabilities to secure the modern enterprise. With real-time protection, unparalleled visibility, and AI-powered threat intelligence, Falcon safeguards endpoints and workloads, prevents breaches, and reduces risk.

Adopting a Proactive Security Posture With CrowdStrike

CrowdStrike Falcon® Cloud Security offers comprehensive breach protection in various cloud environments. According to CrowdStrike, organizations should emphasize the need for proactive identification and prevention of attacker activity. CrowdStrike’s proactive security approach goes beyond indicators of misconfiguration to protect organizations adopting the cloud.

CrowdStrike’s Threat GraphTM database collects and analyzes over 100 billion security events per day, using AI to identify threats in real time. The Threat Graph provides a unified, 360-degree view across an organization’s entire cloud infrastructure and workloads. This allows security teams to take a proactive stance, searching for and stopping threats before damage occurs.

CrowdStrike’s cloud-native architecture was built to protect today’s modern cloud environments. The lightweight Falcon agent is deployed through the cloud provider’s marketplace, and the Falcon platform integrates with cloud services to gain deep visibility and control. Real-time threat protection uses indicators of attack (IOAs) and behavioral analytics to identify threats. When a threat is found, automated prevention and detection technologies immediately take action to stop it.

The CrowdStrike Falcon platform delivers 11 cloud-native security modules on a single lightweight agent. In addition to real-time threat protection, organizations gain visibility into cloud infrastructure, workloads, and accounts. Cloud security posture management identifies and fixes misconfigurations, while cloud infrastructure entitlements management monitors for overprovisioned accounts. Falcon also provides compliance monitoring and reporting for major standards.

With cyber threats rapidly migrating to the cloud, a proactive approach to security is critical. Organizations that adopt CrowdStrike Falcon Cloud Security gain a comprehensive yet efficient solution to identify and stop the most sophisticated attacks targeting their cloud environments before damage occurs. By taking a proactive stance, organizations can rest assured their data and workloads in the cloud are protected.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the CrowdStrike 2024 Global Threat Report provides valuable insights into the evolving threat landscape. Key takeaways include the continued rise in ransomware and supply chain attacks, increased nation-state cyber activity, and the growing sophistication of threat actors. However, with visibility, speed, and coordination, defenders can outpace attackers. CrowdStrike’s cloud-native Falcon platform, enriched by the world’s most advanced threat intelligence, empowers organizations to prevent, detect, and respond to threats. By leveraging AI-powered threat hunting and incident response capabilities, security teams can proactively hunt for threats and rapidly remediate incidents. As the threat landscape grows more complex, CrowdStrike’s innovative technology and services enable customers worldwide to transform their security operations and stop breaches.

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