Public sector becomes top target for malware attacks in the UK

Public sector becomes top target for malware attacks in the UK

Public sector becomes top target for malware attacks in the UK – says NTT Com Security Global Intelligence Threat Report

Attackers now targeting business services firms to reach ‘higher value’ organisations

Public sector organisations are the number one target for malware attacks in the UK. This is according to the latest 2015 Global Threat Intelligence Report (GTIR) – an analysis of over six billion security attacks in 2014 – announced by NTT Com Security, the global information security and risk management company.

While financial services continues to represent the number one targeted sector globally with 18 per cent of all detected attacks, in the UK market nearly 40 per cent of malware attacks were against public sector organisations. This was three times more than the next sector, insurance (13 per cent) and nearly five times more than the media and finance sectors (both 9 per cent).

However, according to the GTIR, attacks against business & professional services organisations saw a sharp rise this year from 9 per cent to 15 per cent globally, while this sector also accounted for 15 per cent of malware observed. Typically, these businesses are seen as being much softer than other targets, but due to their connection and relationship with much larger organisations, are high value targets for attackers. In the UK, this sector represented 6 per cent of all malware attacks.

Stuart Reed, Senior Director, Global Product Marketing at NTT Com Security, comments: “The fact that public sector figures are so high compared to other sectors in the UK is due largely to the value of the data that many of these organisations have, which makes them attractive and highly prized targets for malware attacks. While the level of threat may vary from organisation to organisation, they all have information that would be of interest to cyber criminals.

“It’s also interesting that we have seen some campaigns specifically targeting business & professional services. It’s possible that companies in this sector may not have the equivalent security resources and skills in-house that many other larger companies do, yet they potentially yield high value for attackers as both an end target and a gateway target to strategic partners.”

The GTIR was developed using NTT’s Global Threat Intelligence attack data from the NTT Group companies – including NTT Com Security, Solutionary, Dimension Data, NTT Data, NTT R&D and NTT Innovation Institute, Inc. The key findings in the 2015 Global Threat Intelligence Report are a result of the analysis of approximately six billion worldwide verified attacks over the course of 2014. The data for this report was collected from 16 Security Operations Centers (SOC) and seven R&D centres, and supported by the thousands of NTT security specialists, professionals and researchers from around the world.

Additional GTIR report highlights (global statistics):

· Finance continues to represent the number one targeted sector with 18% of all detected attacks
· 56% of attacks against the NTT global client base originated from IP addresses within the US
· During 2014, 76% of identified vulnerabilities throughout all systems in the enterprise were more than 2 years old, and almost 9% of them were over 10 years old
· 74% of organisations had no incident response plan in place in 2014
· Incident response engagements involving malware threats increased 9% compared to 2013, from 43% to 52%
· Just 46% of new malware is detected by anti-virus software
· 52% of incidents were the result of malware
· 17 of the top 20 vulnerabilities resided in user systems, not on servers.

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