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Venafi Research: Machine Identity Attack Surface Growing Exponentially

According to Venafi study, machine identity related cyberattacks grew by more than 400% between 2018 and 2019

Venafi®, the inventor and leading provider of machine identity management, today announced the findings of a study examining malware, vulnerabilities and attacks using machine identities over the last five years. The study found that the machine identity attack surface is exploding, with a rapid increase in all types of machine identity-related security events in 2018 and 2019. For example, the number of reported machine identity-related cyberattacks grew by over 400% during this two-year period.

"We have seen machine use skyrocket in organizations over the last five years, but many businesses still focus their security controls primarily on human identity management," said Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi. "Digital transformation initiatives are in jeopardy because attackers are able to exploit wide gaps in machine identity management strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic is driving faster adoption of cloud, hybrid and microservices architectures, but protecting machine identities for these projects are often an afterthought. The only way to mitigate these risks is to build comprehensive machine identity management programs that are as comprehensive as customer, partner and employee identity and access management strategies."

Key findings from the study include:

  • Between 2015 and 2019, the number of reported cyberattacks that used machine identities grew by more than 700%, with this amount increasing by 433% between the years 2018 and 2019 alone.

  • From 2015 to 2019, the number of vulnerabilities involving machine identities grew by 260%, increasing by 125% between 2018 and 2019.

  • The use of commodity malware that abuses machine identities doubled between the years 2018 and 2019 and grew 300% over the five years leading up to 2019.

  • Between 2015 and 2019, the number of reported advanced persistent threats (APTs) that used machine identities grew by 400%. Reports of these attacks increased by 150% between 2018 and 2019.

"As our use of cloud, hybrid, open source and microservices use increases, there are many more machine identities on enterprise networks—and this rising number correlates with the accelerated number of threats," said Yana Blachman, threat intelligence researcher at Venafi. "As a result, every organization’s machine identity attack surface is getting much bigger. Although many threats or security incidents frequently involve a machine identity component, too often these details do not receive enough attention and aren’t highlighted in public reports. This lack of focus on machine identities in cyber security reporting has led to a lack of data and focus on this crucial area of security. As a result, the trends we are seeing in this report are likely just the tip of the iceberg."

Additional Resources:

Blog: Attacks Using Machine Identities are Rising Dramatically: Is Your Organization Prepared?

Whitepaper: Machine Identities Drive Rapid Expansion of Enterprise Attack Surface

About Venafi

Venafi is the cybersecurity market leader in machine identity management, securing machine-to-machine connections and communications. Venafi protects machine identity types by orchestrating cryptographic keys and digital certificates for SSL/TLS, SSH, code signing, mobile and IoT. Venafi provides global visibility of machine identities and the risks associated with them for the extended enterprise—on premises, mobile, virtual, cloud and IoT—at machine speed and scale. Venafi puts this intelligence into action with automated remediation that reduces the security and availability risks connected with weak or compromised machine identities while safeguarding the flow of information to trusted machines and preventing communication with machines that are not trusted.

With more than 30 patents, Venafi delivers innovative solutions for the world's most demanding, security-conscious Global 5000 organizations and government agencies, including the top five U.S. health insurers; the top five U.S. airlines; the top four credit card issuers; three out of the top four accounting and consulting firms; four of the top five U.S. retailers; and the top four banks in each of the following countries: the U.S., the U.K., Australia and South Africa. Venafi is backed by top-tier investors, including TCV, Foundation Capital, Intel Capital, QuestMark Partners, Mercato Partners and NextEquity.

For more information, visit: www.venafi.com.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201022005006/en/

Contacts

Shelley Boose
shelley.boose@venafi.com
408.398.6987