Brute-force cyberattacks on the rise in Brazil

The widespread adoption of remote working is the main driver behind the increase, according to a new report.

Brazil has seen a spike in brute-force cyberattacks driven by the increase in remote working, according to a new report on security threats in the first six months of 2020.

More than 2.6 billion attempts at cyber attacks have been recorded by cybersecurity firm Fortinet from January to June, out of a total of 15 billion attempts across Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to the report, there has been a "considerable increase" of brute-force attacks - the practice of guessing possible combinations of login information multiple times through automated means, until the correct access information is discovered.

The increase in the uptake of remote working has rekindled the interest of cybercriminals in this type of attack, according to Alexandre Bonatti, Engineering Director at Fortinet Brazil: "[Attackers] are finding a significant number of incorrectly configured Remote Desktop Protocol servers, which facilitates invasions," he noted.

An example of such attacks mentioned by the cybersecurity firm in the report is SSH.Connection.Brute.Force, which consists of several secure shell (SSH) requests designed to perform a brute-force SSH login, launched about 200 times in 10 seconds.

When it comes to other types of cyberattacks, phishing campaigns relating to Covid-19 are still frequent in Brazil but are not occurring with the same intensity of the start of the pandemic - such attacks peaked in April, according to the Fortinet report.

According to a separate report on phishing, published by Kaspersky in April 2020, there was an increase of 124% in this type of scam in Brazil at the start of the pandemic.

Phishing growth that month was driven by a surge in malicious messages sent through WhatsApp taking advantage of the Covid-19 situation: cybercriminals would send messages aimed at stealing the user's personal data to use in other attacks, or made victims download legitimate apps, so that they could get paid by affiliation programs.

Another report published in March 2020, by Trend Micro, placed Brazil third in a global ranking of cyber threats distributed via email and ransomware, behind the United States and China. The same report listed Brazil as the third country in the world with the highest number of ransomware attacks in 2019 behind the US and India.