Vulnerabilities, Attacks

What Is A Blended Threat?

What Is A Blended Threat?

Introduction

Unlike other threats in the world that originate from a single source and try to break into a system by relying on a preset working mechanism, a blended threat can be a different type of problem. A blended threat is a form of attack that incorporates other types of attacks to create a unique form of threat for the system. The problem with blended threats is that they are often impossible to deal with. The system would find it challenging to ascertain the real cause of the disturbance. By learning more details about blended threats, you can how to avoid them or deal with them when they come up.

Learning Objectives

What is a blended threat?

A blended threat can be described as a software vulnerability that involves a series of attacks that focus on different vulnerabilities. When a blended threat begins, the computer will find it difficult to focus on any particular problem. This type of threat can also be any type of program that is designed to exploit different vulnerabilities such as trojans horses, worms, and computer viruses. Due to the nature in which it operates a blended threat is also known as a complex threat or a blended attack.

A blended threat is one of the most powerful tools that can be used by a malicious attacker to bring down a system. If you thought any single malware was dangerous, blended threats surpass any single malware by combining a variety of them. This type of attacks comprises malicious code, worms, trojan horses, and computer viruses including hardware vulnerabilities. It will seek out the loophole in your computer system and use it to tear it down.

Complex threats are made up of two or more attacks, i.e multiple attacks at the same time. Common examples of complex threats include the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015 or a coordinated cyberattack on the framework of a large organization. In recent years, this type of threat has become more common. These cyberattacks have also begun to affect physical systems such as Stuxnet, Triton, or Trisis. A blended threat is also a term that can be used to describe computer system threats that arise from potential physical hazards. They include natural, accidental, purposeful, and virtual forms of danger that will affect the person’s life, the flow of information, environment, and property. The new definitions of blended threat were endorsed by the 2010 US Department of Homeland Security’s Risk Lexicon.

The effect of blended threats has been difficult to cope with for many years now. They can make their way into a system through various channels. With their new ability to attack healthcare systems, blended threats may also break down healthcare systems that may operate by relying on an internet connection. Many hospital equipments such as pacemakers, can be exploited during this type of large-scale cyberattack. As of 2020, there were already some minor threats in multiple medical devices and equipment. Recently, a flaw was discovered in about 500,000 pacemakers that will make them susceptible to external attack and control. Security researchers were able to identify a list of loopholes that can be used to transform these peaceful pacemakers and cause physical harm to patients.

The first large-scale blended attack took place in 2001 when a Code Red virus was able to successfully break into thousands of computer systems within a single day. Code Red was designed to be able to replicate itself and cause DDoS attacks in some website IP addresses. It was the first popular cause of a widespread worm attack that affected a long list of IP addresses and led to coordinated attacks against third-party networks.

blended threat

How Does A Blended Threat Work?

Blended attacks are dangerous because they operate with a variety of attack vectors and malware functions. All of the malware resources are combined to achieve an ultimate final goal. If a hacker intended to launch a DDoS attack and proceed to infect their network with a server rootkit at the same time, they probably would keep their server away from the target or risk getting infected too.

These bullet points illustrate how a blended attack might take place:

  • The attacker begins by launching a phishing campaign against the target of breaking into one of the other apps connected to their network.
  • The attack would involve the introduction of infected links that will take employees of the target organization to a malicious interface or website.
  • Anyone who clicks the external link will download a worm, virus, or trojan horse that will spread across the multiple endpoints of the organization’s network.
  • The trojan horse will create a backdoor into your organization’s network and allow the attacker more access. Soon, the hacker will introduce a botnet.
  • The attacker will process to launch third-party DDoS attacks by leveraging on the organization's resources. The organization’s endpoints will be under the control of the attacker.
  • When the security team of affected teams attempts to deal with the problem at hand, the hacker goes ahead to install a rootkit on their server. This new kit will provide unrestricted access to information on the organization’s server and access to use their multiple resources.

It’s only possible for a malicious attacker or hacker with a high skill level to execute this scale of the attack. Examples of malicious attackers that can launch blended attacks on systems include state-backed hacking groups or an organization of cybercriminals. The growing usage of technological devices such as smartphones, laptops, and IoT technology provides more attack vectors to break into any system.

How to repel the blended threat

It’s almost impossible to prevent blended threat malware from occurring on a system or server, but security teams can make it harder for malicious hackers to infiltrate or operate on their network. Because blended threats are perpetrated using a variety of attack vectors and a mixture of strategies, an organization would need a well-detailed security system to fend it off. Only complex security protocols can handle the complexity of a blended attack or threat.

Some of the tools that can help your fight against blended threats include advanced firewalls and a variety of next-generation anti-virus or spy detection software. They need a security system that can detect known and unknown threats quickly. As soon as a blended threat begins, a security team will not have enough time to react or take measures to protect themselves. It will be too late.

Organizations may consider setting up packet capture through SIEM products. This product will enable them to perform deep forensic analysis and eliminate false positives to properly deal with blended attacks. Big-money investments in SIEM and Managed Detection and Response will offer the right amount of cybersecurity protection to fend off advanced and complex threats.

Conclusion

Blended attacks represent the next generation of vulnerabilities that can affect any system. They are difficult to cope with and their effects are far-reaching. However, the implementation of hybrid security tools and measures will help any organization fare better against these types of attacks. Proactiveness is crucial against blended threats.

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