Security Survey: Threat Defenses Remain Weak

Friday, July 2, 2010 @ 03:07 PM gHale


Cyber attacks occur every day whether you know it or not and the sophistication level of those attacks is on the rise, according to a new survey.
Of those attacks, 83% of information security professionals said their organization was the target of some type of advanced threat, and 71% report such attacks have increased in the past 12 months, according to a survey conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by NetWitness.


But even as these advanced attacks increase, many organizations don’t always know when they are under attack. Just think, 41% of the 591 surveyed IT security managers in the United States said could not determine how frequently these advanced threats targeted them.
For the survey, Ponemon defined these advanced as being “a methodology employed to evade an organization’s present technical and process countermeasures, which relies on a variety of attack techniques, as opposed to one specific type.”
While zero-day attacks are the most prevalent form of advanced threat, according to Ponemon, “there are increasingly many instances where known attacks are being re-engineered and repackaged to extend their usefulness.”
Half of all advanced attacks target sensitive, proprietary data, while 48% push for personal information, including customer, consumer, or employee records, according to survey respondents.
Security managers reported having a hard time defending against these attacks on a timely basis. In one example, 80% of security managers said it takes at least a day or longer to detect such attacks, and 46% said it requires at least 30 days, if not longer.
That delay is the result of organizations often having the appropriate policies and procedures in place, but not the right technology or training, according to Ponemon. More than half of respondents said they have sufficient security policies and procedures in place to deal with advanced threats. But only 26% said in-house security skills were strong enough to safeguard their organization against more advanced threats, and only 32% said they have the required defensive technology.
Almost 7 out of 10 (69%) respondents use antivirus tools and 61% use an intrusion-detection system (IDS) to detect or prevent advanced threats. But 90% of respondents said exploits or malware have evaded their IDS, or else that they’re not sure. An equal number said exploits and malware have defeated their antivirus tools, or else they’re not sure.
Focus is another challenge, with 19% of respondents characterizing their IT leaders as being fully aware of the challenge of, and requirements for, defending against advanced attacks.



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