Feeds

Firms fail to focus on most dangerous security threats

Web and client side bugs top peril index

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Enterprises are focusing their information security efforts in the wrong areas, leaving themselves more open to hacking attacks and malware infections as a result.

The 2009 Top Cyber Risks Report from the SANS Institute concludes that most organisations are focusing their security maintenance and vulnerability scanning efforts on keeping operating system software up to date. The bigger threat, however, comes from exploits against websites and client-side vulnerabilities.

Six in 10 of the total number of attacks fall on Web applications, while attacks aimed at applications such as Microsoft Office, and Adobe Flash are also extremely commonplace. The problem is made worse because organisations often take twice as long to patch applications as they do to update operating systems.

Web site vulnerabilities are often exploited to convert trusted Web sites into malicious servers slinging out client-side exploits (ie. drive-by download attacks).

Attacks on Windows over the last six months were dominated by the Conficker worm. More than 90 per cent of the Windows operating system attacks targeted the buffer overflow vulnerability used by Conficker, which was patched by Microsoft's MS08-067 update.

The latest edition of the bi-annual report from the SANS Institute combines attack data from TippingPoint with vulnerability data from Qualys for the first time. The conclusions in the report are derived from real-world data from security appliances and software in thousands of targeted organisations, correlating the attacks with the vulnerabilities they exploit.

The report warns of a backlog of unpatched software, with some flaws going unaddressed for up to two years. This lengthening patch lag time increases the chances for hackers to get around to creating exploits targeting the unpatched vulnerabilities.

"By combining information on attacks with data on specific vulnerabilities, we can provide organisations with real, actionable information for protecting their systems," said Alan Paller, director of research for the SANS Institute. "Our goal in releasing this is to give overwhelmed security professionals the tools they need to prioritise their resources and security practices to achieve the best protection for their network."

The full report can be downloaded here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
BlackEnergy crimeware coursing through US control systems
US CERT says three flavours of control kit are under attack
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.