„Excuse me, are you aware of what’s happening right now? We’re facing 20 billion security events every day. DDoS campaigns, ransomware, malware attacks…“ says a woman sternly to an associate in a recently aired commercial featuring Watson and IBM Security. She may have been an actor, but the question and the threats described plague real-world organizations and their security operations‘ teams daily.

IBM X-Force knows the difficulties organizations face with finding the time to step back from day-to-day operations to look at the big security picture. Because of this, they may be left with many unanswered questions:

  • What cybercrime trends have surfaced over the last year?
  • What are the most prevalent mechanisms of attack and what steps do we need to take to take to mitigate those attacks?
  • Is my industry one of the most targeted in terms of attacks and is there something to learn from those that have experienced fewer compromises?
  • Where are the majority of the attacks coming from? Inside or outside my network? And is the make-up of the insider attacks mostly malicious or inadvertent? (Shown below)


IBM_Attack sources


Fortunately, IBM X-Force takes the guesswork out of assessing the security threat landscape for organizations with the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index. To form assessments regarding the threat landscape, X-Force researchers draw on numerous data sources to include both data from monitored security clients (billions of events per year from more than 8,000 client devices in more than 100 countries) and data derived from non-customer assets such as spam sensors and honeynets.

The following key trends identified point to a continued need to focus on security fundamentals:

  • World-changing leaks – The security landscape was rocked with unprecedented leaks of comprehensive datasets, with over 4 billion compromised records exposed.
  • Tried and true – Older attack methods continue to be the attacker’s choice to gain access to valuable data and resources, including command injection, malware toolkits, and ransomware.
  • Decline in attacks – The average IBM monitored security client experienced fewer attacks compared to last year, down 12%. But that doesn’t necessarily mean less danger; it could indicate attackers are relying more on proven attacks, thus requiring fewer attacks.

For a closer look at the full cyber threat landscape for 2016, download the „IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2017„.

IBM Security March 2017


Michelle Alvarez
Michelle Alvarez is a Threat Researcher and Editor for IBM's Managed Security Services; she brings more than 10 years of industry experience to her role. In this role she focuses communications efforts around threat research and mitigation. Michelle joined IBM through the Internet Security Services (ISS) acquisition, where she served as an Analyst on the X-Force Vulnerability Database Team.