Government joins the finance sector at the top of the cyber attack list

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New research reveals that the number of cyberattacks on the government sector doubled from 7% in 2015 to 14% in 2016

New research reveals that cyberattacks on the government sector doubled in 2016, hiking to 14 per cent from seven per cent of all cybersecurity attacks in 2015. Attacks on the finance sector also rose dramatically from just three per cent in 2015 to 14 per cent of all attacks in 2016.

The manufacturing sector came in at third place at 13 per cent, while the retail sector, which topped the list of all cybersecurity attacks on all sectors in 2015 moved down into fourth place (11 per cent).

This is according to the Executive’s Guide to the NTT Security 2017 Global Threat Intelligence Report which was compiled from data collected by NTT Security and other NTT operating companies including Dimension Data, from the networks of 10,000 clients across five continents, 3.5 trillion security logs, 6.2 billion attempted attacks, and global honeypots¹ and sandboxes² located in over 100 different countries.
The report pinpoints a number of global geo-political events which could have contributed to the government sector being a cybersecurity attack target. These include:

  • the US Presidential election campaign;
  • a new US administration with a more aggressive stance toward China and North Korea;
  • China adopting a more aggressive policy stance in securing its vital ‘core interests’;
  • US and European Union-led economic sanctions against Russia;
  • Russian state-sponsored actors continuing cyber operations against Western targets;
  • growing negative sentiment in the Middle East against the West’s aggression towards Syria.

Matthew Gyde, Dimension Data’s Group Executive – Security said, “Governments all over the world are constantly under the threat of sophisticated attacks launched by rival nation-states, terrorist groups, hacktivists, and cyber criminals. That’s because government agencies hold vast amounts of sensitive information – from personnel records, budgetary data, and sensitive communications, to intelligence findings. What’s interesting is that this year we saw numerous incidents involving insider threats.”

Commenting on the financial services industry, Mark Thomas, Dimension Data’s Group Cybersecurity Strategist, said, “The ongoing attacks in the financial services industry are no surprise. These organisations have large amounts of digital assets and sensitive customer data. Gaining access to them enables cybercriminals to monetise personally identifiable information and credit card data in the underground economy.”

Other highlights in the report include:

  • 63 per cent of all cyberattacks originated from IP addresses in the US, followed by the UK (four per cent), and China (three per cent). The US is the predominant location of cloud-hosted infrastructure globally. Threat actors often utilise public cloud to orchestrate attacks due to the low cost and stability of this infrastructure.
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) and operating technology (OT) devices must be considered as both a potential source and target of attack. Of the IoT attacks detected in 2016, some 66 per cent were attempting to discover specific devices such as a particular model of video camera,
    three per cent were seeking a web server or other type of server, while two per cent were attempting to attack a database.
  • The top cybersecurity threats facing digital businesses are phishing, social engineering, and ransomware; business email compromise; IoT and distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks; and attacks targeting end-users.

Click here to download the Executive’s Guide to the 2017 Global Threat Intelligence Report.

Click here to download an infographic of the 2017 Global Threat Intelligence Report.

¹Honeypots: systems built as lures, specifically built to attract attackers, and gather information from cyberattacks directed against the honeypots.

² Sandbox: a testing environment that isolates untested code changes and outright experimentation from the production environment or repository, in the context of software development including Web development and revision control.

About Dimension Data
Dimension Data harnesses the transformative power of technology to help organisations achieve great things in the digital era. As a member of the NTT Group, we focus on digital infrastructure, hybrid cloud, workspaces for tomorrow, cybersecurity, and network as the platform. With a turnover of USD 7.5 billion and offices in 58 countries, we deliver services wherever our clients are, at every stage of their technology journey. Accelerate your ambition. Go to dimensiondata.com.

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