From the Wires
Trustwave Reveals Increase in Cyber Attacks Targeting Retailers, Mobile Devices and E-Commerce
2013 Trustwave Global Security Report Highlights Data Breach and Security Trends
Feb. 13, 2013 09:15 AM
CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwire) -- 02/13/13 -- Trustwave, a leading provider of cloud-based compliance and information security solutions, today unveiled key results from the 2013 Trustwave Global Security Report. The report highlights details and trends from more than 450 global data breach investigations, more than 2,500 penetration tests, more than nine million Web application attacks, more than two million network and vulnerability scans, more than five million malicious websites, more than 20 billion e-mails as well as extensive research and analysis of zero-day security threats. All of the information is Trustwave's own data collected and analyzed by Trustwave security experts -- not surveys. Throughout 2012, Trustwave tested, analyzed and discovered the top vulnerabilities and threats that have the most potential to negatively impact multi-national corporations, merchants and government entities.
This year's findings revealed the retail industry is now the top target for cyber-criminals. For the first time, the retail industry made up 45 percent of Trustwave data breach investigations (a 15 percent increase from 2011) with e-commerce attacks emerging as a growing trend surpassing the amount of point-of-sales attacks. Additionally, mobile malware increased 400 percent, with malware found on Android devices growing from 50,000 to more than 200,000 samples. The report also revealed that out of three million user passwords analyzed, 50 percent of business users are still using easily-guessed passwords -- the most common being "Password1" because it often meets the minimum standard for acceptable passwords. The findings indicated that in 2012, nearly every industry, country and type of data was involved in a breach of some kind with cyber-security threats increasing as quickly as businesses can implement measures against them.
"Cyber-criminals will never stop trying to compromise systems to obtain valuable information such as customer and private user data, corporate trade secrets and payment card information," said Robert J. McCullen, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Trustwave. "This year's Global Security Report pulls back the curtain revealing how breaches happen and how potential victims around the world can protect themselves so that they stay one step ahead and eliminate potential security threats. After reading this report, businesses and government agencies will be one step closer to building a comprehensive security strategy to reduce risk, protect data and safeguard their reputation."
Other Key Report Findings
- Applications emerged as the most popular attack vector. E-commerce sites were the number one targeted asset accounting for 48 percent of all investigations.
- 64 percent of organizations attacked took more than 90 days to detect an intrusion with the average time for detection being 210 days -- 35 days longer than in 2011; 5 percent took more than three years to identify the criminal activity. Most victim organizations still rely on third parties, customers, law enforcement or a regulatory body to notify them a breach has occurred -- a worldwide security problem.
- Employees leave the door open to further attacks. Whether due to lack of education or policy enforcement, employees pick weak passwords, click on phishing links and share company information on social and public platforms.
- Attacks were discovered in 29 different countries. The largest percentage, 34.4 percent, originated in Romania.
- Spam volume shrank in 2012 but still represents 75.2% percent of a typical organization's inbound e-mail and roughly 10 percent of spam messages are malicious.
- Businesses seem to be rapidly adopting an outsourced, third-party information technology operations model. 63 percent of investigations revealed a third party responsible for system support, development or maintenance, introduced security deficiencies easily exploited by hackers.
- The two most noteworthy methods of intrusion, SQL injection and remote access, made up 73 percent of the infiltration methods used by criminals in 2012.
- Out of the 450 cases investigated in 2012, about 40 variations of malware were found. Trustwave attributed the 40 unique types of malware to six criminal groups. Three criminal teams caused the majority of payment of service credit card breaches. Russia and the U.S. are the largest contributors when it comes to malware attacks making up 39.4 percent and 19.7 percent of hosted malware, respectively.
"Businesses should take a step back and re-evaluate their security posture," added McCullen. "All developers, particularly in the e-commerce industry, should implement a full lifecycle security plan that includes thoroughly educating themselves and their employees, equipping themselves with the best tools to protect themselves against attacks and making sure they are using the most reliable resources for zero day detection."
Top Security Recommendations for 2013
To improve security posture, Trustwave recommends six focus areas for organizations in 2013:
- Educate employees. Employees are the first line of defense against attackers. Organizations should conduct security awareness training on a regular basis for all existing and new employees.
- Identify Users. Every user-initiated action should be tagged to a specific person, whether in a physical or digital environment. Every year, a significant number of data breaches occur as the result of an attacker obtaining access to a user's account.
- Register Assets. With the increase of bring-your-own-device (BYOD), it is more important than ever to have a complete inventory or registry of valid devices. A device should never be allowed access to a controlled environment unless it's registered and known. In addition, the patch levels and vulnerabilities should be assessed on a regular basis not only to work to improve the security of those in the environment but also to understand what risks exist when issues can't be resolved in the short term.
- Protect Data. Attacks are more sophisticated than ever, and keeping cybercriminals out requires a multi-faceted approach. Businesses should implement a "more than technology" approach to security that includes team training and education, secure code review, and periodic penetration and vulnerability testing for e-commerce Web applications, as well as a data lifecycle methodology that governs data from creation to destruction. They should also create resiliency in systems by layering proven technologies such as a powerful secure Web gateway and a Web application firewall that can be deployed to improve protection and performance of business-critical applications, with virtual patching capabilities that combat threats in real-time.
- Unify Activity Logs. Most businesses today treat physical and information security controls separately. Badge systems, HR records, and even loss prevention are not typically tied to the same team that monitors firewalls, intrusion detection and other security technology. Businesses should employ technology like security information and event management (SIEM) to take over the processing of these logs.
- Visualize Events. The ultimate goal for organizations should be to develop an environment in which security threats are discovered innately-by both responsible security professionals and others in the organization. Security event visualization allows businesses to identify patterns, emerging vulnerabilities and attacks, and respond quickly and decisively across the organization when an attack does occur. Using the right data sources, advanced SIEM analytics, and data modeling, security event visualization prepares businesses to effectively mitigate current and future threats.
"There is no 'if' you will be attacked, only 'when' which is why it is crucial for organizations to follow security best practices and recommendations," said Chris Christiansen, Program Vice President Security Products and Services, IDC. "Cyber-attacks are increasing with little sign of abatement. Every business contains valuable information about themselves and/or their partners, channels, suppliers, and customers. By learning from other people's experiences and considering the suggestions outlined in this report, enterprises can build stronger and more responsive security programs that protect their businesses, employees, partners, suppliers, and customers."
The 2013 Trustwave Global Security Report will be available to the public prior to the RSA Conference in San Francisco, February 25. Sign up to receive a complementary digital copy of the report when it becomes generally available here: https://www.trustwave.com/2013GSR
Trustwave is a leading provider of compliance, Web, application, network and data security solutions delivered through the cloud, managed security services, software and appliances. For organizations faced with today's challenging data security and compliance environment, Trustwave provides a unique approach with comprehensive solutions that include its TrustKeeper® portal and other proprietary security solutions. Trustwave has helped hundreds of thousands of organizations -- ranging from Fortune 500 businesses and large financial institutions to small and medium-sized retailers -- manage compliance and secure their network infrastructures, data communications and critical information assets. Trustwave is headquartered in Chicago with offices worldwide. For more information, visit https://www.trustwave.com.
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