IBM on Thursday released the results of its X-Force 2011 Trend and Risk Report -- and there is some good news and some bad news.
First the good news. The X-Force 2011 Trend and Risk Report revealed a 50 percent decline in spam e-mail compared with 2010, more diligent patching of security vulnerabilities by software vendors, and higher quality of software application code. However, attackers have countered with an increase in automated shell command injection attacks against Web servers.
"The most surprising result to me has been the two- to three-fold increase in shell command injection attacks. I would not have predicted that particular attack vector would grow so much in popularity at this stage of the game," said Tom Cross, manager of Threat Intelligence and Strategy for IBM X-Force.
"X-Force believes that this activity may be an adaptation to the fact that Web site operators are working to fix SQL Injection vulnerabilities and may be missing shell command issues that are also lurking within their Web applications."
A Mixed Bag of News
For years, SQL injection attacks against Web applications have been a popular vector for attackers of all types, IBM said. SQL injection vulnerabilities allow an attacker to manipulate the database behind a Web site.
As progress has been made to close those vulnerabilities, IBM reports some attackers have now started to target shell command injection vulnerabilities instead. These vulnerabilities allow the attacker to execute commands directly on a Web server. IBM said Web application developers should pay close attention to this increasingly popular attack vector.
Back to the good news. There was a 39 percent decline in the availability of exploit code. And although some security vulnerabilities are never patched, in 2011 this number was down to 36 percent from 43 percent in 2010. IBM also witnessed a 50 percent reduction in cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities due to improvements in software quality.
"Computer Security is getting better. We're seeing less exploit code getting released on the Internet. We're seeing the quality of software improve. We're seeing software vendors get more diligent about patching security vulnerabilities," Cross said.
"We've still got a lot of work to do. There are still many vulnerabilities out there and attackers are taking advantage of them, but our statistics show that progress is being made -- all of the work that is going on to make software more resilient is making a difference." (continued...)
Posted: 2012-04-05 @ 11:15am PT
It sure would be nice to have a LINK TO THE REPORT.