Phone Number +1-202-802-9399 (US)

Thycotic is now Delinea!

The Lockdown

Thycotic’s Cyber Security Blog

Thycotic’s 2018 Black Hat Survey Results Uncover Hackers’ Easiest Points of Entry for Hacking IT Systems

Written by Jordan True

September 18th, 2018

Fifty Percent of Hackers Reveal They Compromised Windows 10 and Windows 8 Within the Past Year

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 18, 2018 Thycotic, a provider of privileged access management (PAM) solutions for more than 10,000 organizations worldwide, today released the findings from its 2018 Black Hat-conducted survey of more than 300 hackers — nearly 70 percent of which help organizations improve security and identify as “white hat hackers.” The findings reflect hackers’ perspectives on vulnerabilities and attack vectors they find easiest to exploit. According to the findings, 50 percent of hackers say they easily compromised both Windows 10 and Windows 8 within the past year.

Operating Systems are only as secure as the people using them, and the configurations applied.  Knowing that compromise of user accounts is probably inevitable, organizations need a “zero-trust” strategy that emphasizes least privilege to limit overprivileged accounts that give hackers wide and undetected access. Many companies use Group Policy Objects (GPO) to centralize the management, configuration and security of Windows domain-connected devices. However, GPO policies are dependent on multiple factors and hackers indicate that they can easily bypass these security controls.

“The 2018 Black Hat Hacker Report indicates that our operating systems and endpoints remain woefully vulnerable to hackers and threats from cyber criminals,” said Joseph Carson, Chief Security Scientist at Thycotic. “By combining a least privilege strategy with other security layers such as multi-factor authentication, behavior analytics and privileged account protection, organizations can build and maintain a more effective and dynamic security posture to keep cyber criminals from exploiting their IT environments.”

Unfortunately, most organizations are falling short when it comes to applying least privilege policies. The surveyed participants indicated that more than 74 percent of organizations are not doing a good job of implementing the principle of least privilege. This leads to poor password protection and the theft of credentials, followed by the elevation of privileges which allow cyber criminals to seize administrative controls and conquer the network.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • 26 percent of the hackers surveyed said they most often infiltrated Windows 10 OS. 22 percent hacked Windows 8 the most, followed by 18 percent for Linux and less than just 5 percent for Mac.
  • There is clearly a dominant method used by hackers for seizing privileged accounts as 56 percent of those surveyed said social engineering is the fastest technique.
  • The top two ways these hackers elevate privilege are through use of default vendor passwords and the exploitation of application and OS vulnerabilities.

Download the report and view the full survey results and findings from Thycotic’s 2018 Black Hat Survey here.