Feeds

Verizon: 96 PER CENT of state-backed cyber-spying traced to China

Lock up your data, folks

Seven Steps to Software Security

Spooks carrying out state-sponsored cyber-espionage were responsible for one in five data breaches last year, researchers have claimed.

New statistics contained in Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation Report 2012 found that 19 per cent of all attacks were carried out by agents acting on behalf of their government. Researchers recorded more cyber-espionage incidents than ever before, although the majority of attacks were carried out by criminals looking to make money.

Bosses will be comforted by the finding that “external actors” were responsible for the majority of data breaches, with 92 per cent of all incidents involving an attack from someone working outside the the organisation.

Researchers examined more than 47,000 security incidents and 621 confirmed data breaches affecting international organisations from 27 countries, including government agencies, financial institutions and defence contractors. Since the first report was compiled nine years ago, boffins have pored over more than 2,500 data breaches.

The report, which was released today and covers 2012, said: “State-affiliated groups rise to the number two spot for the 2012 dataset ... We saw a dip in financially motivated cases against small organizations in our dataset, and that dip allows other trends to become more pronounced. Furthermore, our own investigations comprised more espionage cases than any previous year.”

Financial organisations suffered the most attacks, accounting for 37 per cent of recorded data breaches. Just over half (52 per cent) of all breaches involved “some sort of hacking” while 76 per cent of “network intrusions involved exploiting weak or stolen credentials” - which basically means someone didn’t set up a decent password.

Some 21 percent of the attacks were carried out by state-affiliated hackers on espionage missions, 96 percent of which could be tracked back to China.

Organised crime was responsible for 55 percent of all breaches, with the majority of attacks coming from the US or Eastern Europe.

The report added: “More than half of all external breaches tie to organized criminal groups. This reflects the high prevalence of illicit activities associated with threat actors of this ilk, such as spamming, scamming, payment fraud, account takeovers and identity theft. For professional criminals, the “why” is simple and consistent—money . As economic and social activities continue to go online, criminals will follow in order to exploit the soaring amount of data that can all too easily be converted to cash.”

Jason Hart, cloud solutions veep at SafeNet, said the data demanded a new way of thinking about security.

He said: “Verizon can always be relied on to lift the lid on hackers' motives and this new batch of data is shocking. While data breaches seem rampant, these results could trigger a real sea change in data protection strategies. Embracing a secure breach strategy renders lost or stolen worthless to the attacker, making the only serious mitigation of the threat to sensitive data held by enterprises and governments.” ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.