The COVID-19 pandemic has seen entire workforces transition to remote work, virtually overnight. Many businesses have started using Microsoft’s client software called Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which is used to access corporate resources remotely.
Unfortunately, the speed at which this happened exposed many misconfigured and, in turn, dangerous RDP servers, and the bad actors immediately jumped on the bandwagon, seeing this as an opportunity to hack into systems.
According to data from the Atlas VPN research team, RDP attacks exploded by 241% last year.
In 2019, RDP attacks amounted to 969 million, but in 2020, attackers carried out 3.3 billion attacks. These data were provided by Kaspersky, one of the world’s largest antivirus companies, protecting more than 400 million users and 250,000 corporate customers.
According to the study, RDP attacks have increased steadily since the start of 2019, but the pandemic has accelerated the growth dramatically, leading to 3.3 billion incidents from January to November 2020.
A closer look at the data shows that in 2019, perpetrators carried out an average of 88,180,802 attacks per month. However, the following year, the average number of RDP attacks per month increased to 302,020,526.
In addition, in 2019, hackers carried out the majority of attacks in September, 160,234,416. Yet in November of the following year, they managed a staggering 409,155,016 attacks, an increase of 155% compared to the maximum number of attacks per month in 2019 and 2020.
The majority of RDP attacks use a brute force method, in which attackers use trial and error, submitting numerous passwords or passphrases in the hopes of eventually guessing a combination that will allow them to gain access to the network. target computer.
Atlas VPN notes that attackers do not use random username and password combinations, as they have millions of username and password combinations that have been leaked by other companies. . The company recently reported 37 billion data records were leaked last year, up 140% year over year, meaning there is no shortage of credentials hackers can try.
If the brute force attack is successful, the attacker can move sideways through the organization’s network until they find what they are looking for, be it financial data, contact information, user data or any other sensitive information.
Remote Desktop Protocol Attacks Increase 241%
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