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CERT Oz report: 76 orgs popped in targeted attacks

What's whitelisting? We're still married to XP

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Seventy six businesses have owned up to targeted attacks getting past their defences, according to the government's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), which released the findings in an annual report late yesterday.

The mostly Australian businesses represented 135 organisations reporting to the CERT Australia survey and were part of a 35 percent uptick in reported information security incidents from the previous 2012 survey.

Breached organisations were unclear about the motivations behind the attacks but suggested commercial competitors were at fault.

The report highlighted well known security shortcomings across organisations including a lack of plans for forensic preservation of evidence ahead of breaches, a drop (25 percent) in security spend and poor adoption of payment security controls (PCI DSS).

In other findings:

  • Eighteen organisations said they would maintain their Windows XP deployments despite Microsoft's botched end of life plans for the operating system.
  • Use of cryptography had spiked by 35 percent to 60 percent of responding organisations.

Most respondents were part of the Federal Attorney General's Trusted Information Sharing Network (TISN), which serves as a security intelligence sharing hub between CERT and the country's critical infrastructure and nominated systems of national interest.

A quarter of the TISN respondents hailed from defence, 16 percent from the energy sector and 13 per cent from banking and finance industries. Three quarters of respondents were from large organisations and agencies with more than 200 employees yet most (75 percent) had fewer than five full time security bods on payrolls.

User access management was the most common security control in use, followed by disaster recovery and change controls. Most organisations applied four of the Australian Signals Directorate's lauded security control list, but few had applied critical application whitelisting which the intel agency http://www.asd.gov.au/infosec/top-mitigations/top-4-strategies-explained.htm#mitigation was an "incredibly effective means of ensuring security". ®

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