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Machine identity attacks growing exponentially

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Machine identity attacks are growing exponentially, with 2018 and 2019 the worst years on record. This is according to a new report from Venafi, which asserts that  the machine identity attack surface is “exploding”.

The number of reported machine identity-related cyberattacks grew by over 400 percent in 2018 and 2019. And in the last five years, the figure has risen by more than 700 percent.

The number of vulnerabilities, meanwhile, grew by 260 percent during that time, with 2018 and 2019 alone seeing 125 percent growth, Venafi claims.

Incidences of commodity malware that takes advantage of machine identities have grown by 100 percent in the last two years, and by more than 300 percent in the last five years. The number of reported advanced persistent threats that used machine identities grew by 400 percent in that time.

Venafi argues that the machine identity (opens in new tab) component of a cyberattack rarely gets enough attention in public reports. As a result, there isn’t enough data on the issue, and the focus is lacking.

“As a result, the trends we are seeing in this report are likely just the tip of the iceberg,” said Yana Blachman, Threat Intelligence Researcher at Venafi.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.