Top Cyber Threats: Security Research Roundup: Page 4
Find out what the latest research reveals about the current state of malware, phishing, and other attacks.
GLOBAL GROWTH OF PHISHING:
The Symantec Intelligence Report [PDF file] for February 2012 states that the global phishing rate increased in February by 0.01 percent, with one in 358.1 e-mails (0.28 percent) comprising some form of phishing attack. The Netherlands was the country most targeted by phishing attacks in February, with one in 152.8 e-mails identified as phishing. In the U.S., the rate was one in 753.5. The industry most targeted by phishing attacks in February was the public sector, with one in 84.1 e-mails comprising a phishing attack. Small to medium sized businesses with 1-250 employees were the most targeted, with one in 265.7 e-mails comprising a phishing attacks, while large enterprises with more than 2,500 employees saw one in 361.9 e-mails containing a phishing attack.
SMALLER ORGANIZATIONS BEING TARGETED:
Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 17 [PDF file] notes that targeted attacks aren't just a source of concern for larger companies – more than half of all targeted attacks in 2011 were directed at organizations with fewer than 2,500 employees, and fully 17.8 percent were directed at organizations with fewer than 250 employees. The company notes that smaller organizations may be targeted as a stepping stone because they're in the supply chain or partner ecosystem of a larger, more well defended company. Similarly, while 42 percent of the targeted users are high-level executives, senior managers and people in research and development, the majority of targets don't themselves have access to confidential information – instead, they’re targeted as a way of getting a foot in the door of a target company.
Verizon's 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report [PDF file] breaks down the leading methods of hacking into two groups: authentication attacks (stealing, brute forcing, or guessing of credentials) and technical attacks that bypass or break authentication altogether (e.g. SQL injection or backdoors). According to the report, there are few clear distinctions between the methods used to target small companies and those used to target larger ones. "Larger companies do seem to be more adept at warding off the easier-to-prevent attacks; however, approximately 98 percent of all records breached via stolen credentials occurred in larger organizations," the report states.