Feeds

Indian SMBs facing advanced attack threats

Symantec warns of lack of security know-how

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

India’s growing urban population is under concerted cyber attack as criminals increasingly focus advanced targeted techniques on small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and look to exploit piecemeal security and low levels of awareness, according to the latest report from Symantec.

The security giant’s Internet Security Threat Report 17 paints the picture of a nation whose lack of information security know-how is being ruthlessly exploited.

It found that 25 per cent of bot infections are being reported in smaller cities such as Bhubaneshwar, Surat, Cochin and Jaipur, thanks in part because they have a large percentage of SMBs.

"Augmented by broadband penetration, smaller and emerging cities of India are exploring opportunities offered by the virtual world, in turn creating a new lucrative pool of targets for cyber criminals to exploit," said Shantanu Ghosh, MD of India product operations, in a canned statement.

"Lack of awareness and low adoption of security measures makes these cities susceptible to cyber threats and warrants greater vigilance in protecting information assets."

Advanced, targeted attacks are rising across the board – from 77 per day in 2010 to 82 per day by the end of 2011 – but especially against smaller organisations, with over half of such attacks hitting Indian SMBs last year.

These kinds of attack usually employ social engineering techniques to trick a user into following a malicious link or opening a malicious email attachment, thus triggering a malware download.

Typically, this bespoke malware will then jump around inside the corporate network, escalating privileges if necessary until it finds the data it is after.

Symantec said that SMBs are increasingly targeted by such attacks – traditionally the preserve of government and large private sector organisations – because they provide an easier, less well-defended route into the supply chain of a larger company.

In a similar way, non-execs in roles such as HR, sales or admin are usually targeted because they may be less alert to the dangers and are more used to getting unsolicited queries.

Interestingly, while the total number of attacks jumped by 81 per cent, with more than 5.5 billion blocked in the region last year, the number of new vulnerabilities discovered dropped by 20 per cent.

According to Symantec, this is a clear sign that the cyber crims are doing well enough exploiting existing vulnerabilities, with social networks an increasingly successful channel of infection.

As is the case all over the world, mobile threats were also highlighted as a risk to businesses and consumers, with mobile vulnerabilities rising 93 per cent in India last year, the report said.

Aside from the risks posed by financially motivated hackers, Indian organisations have also been battered over the years by Pakistani hacktivists.

The government in particular has had various sites defaced on numerous occasions, and was most recently DDoS-ed by online collective Anonymous. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
SHELLSHOCKED: Fortune 1000 outfits Bash out batches of patches
CloudPassage points to 'pervasive' threat of Bash bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.