Targeted Attack Focus: Small Biz

Thursday, July 12, 2012 @ 05:07 PM gHale

A classic line you hear from few companies on why they don’t invest in a security program usually falls along the line of, “we are too small for anyone to attack.” Well, they are wrong – and the numbers back it up.

Just take a look: 36 percent of all targeted attacks (58 per day) during the last six months went toward businesses with 250 or fewer employees, according to research by security company, Symantec. And the numbers are rising.

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During the first half of the year, the number of daily targeted attacks continued to increase at a minimum rate of 24 percent with an average of 151 targeted attacks blocked each day during May and June.

When it comes to targeted attacks, the manufacturing industry accounts for almost 10 percent to the total and the chemical/pharmaceutical industry accounts for 20 percent, the report said.

In terms of the size of a company, large enterprises consisting of more than 2,500 employees are still receiving the greatest number of attacks, with an average 69 blocked each day.

“There appears to be a direct correlation between the rise in attacks against smaller businesses and a drop in attacks against larger ones. It almost seems attackers are diverting their resources directly from the one group to the other,” said Paul Wood, cyber security intelligence manager, Symantec.

“It may be that your company is not the primary target, but an attacker may use your organization as a stepping-stone to attack another company. You do not want your business to be the weakest link in the supply chain. Information is power, and the attackers know this, and successful attacks can result in significant financial advantage for the cyber criminals behind them. Access to intellectual property and strategic intelligence can give them huge advantages in a competitive market,” Wood said.

The Defense industry (a sub category of the Public Sector) has been the targeted industry of choice in the first half of the year, with an average of 7.3 attacks per day.

The Chemical/Pharmaceutical and Manufacturing sector maintain the number two and three spots. These targets received a smaller percentage of overall attention than in 2011, but the Chemical/Pharmaceutical sector still suffers a hit in every 1 in 5 targeted attacks, while Manufacturing still accounts for almost 10 percent of all targeted attacks.

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