Internet Hackers’ New Targets

Sheldon Hand

A Symantec Corporation’s Internet Security Threat Report for 2012 reveals that small businesses are now the new targets of cyberespionage

|  By Maureen Chigbo  |  May 27, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

SMALL Businesses are now one of the key targets of cyberespionage, according to Symantec Corporation’s Internet Security Threat Report, ISTR, Volume 18 released on May 13. The report contained 18 key highlights which included the fact that small businesses are the path of least resistance.

It stated that targeted attacks on businesses with fewer than 250 employees are growing. Small businesses are now the target of 31 percent of all attacks, a threefold increase from 2011. While small businesses may feel they are immune to targeted attacks, cybercriminals are enticed by these organisations’ bank account information, customer data, intellectual property and the knowledge that they often lack adequate security practices and infrastructure.

According to the report, the manufacturing sector and knowledge workers are also primary targets. Shifting from governments, manufacturing has moved to the top of the list of industries targeted for attacks in 2012. Often by going after manufacturing companies in the supply chain, attackers gain access to sensitive information of a larger company. In addition, in 2012, the most commonly targeted victims of these types of attacks were knowledge workers (27 percent) with access to intellectual property and those in sales (24 percent).

The report said mobile malware has put consumers and businesses at risk. In 2012, mobile malware increased by 58 percent, and 32 percent of all mobile threats attempted to steal information, such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Android’s market share, its open platform and the multiple distribution methods available to distribute malicious apps, make it the go-to platform for attackers.

Symantec Corportion’s Internet Security Threat Report, ISTR, Volume 18 revealed a 42 percent surge during 2012 in targeted attacks compared to the prior year.  Designed to steal intellectual property, these targeted cyberespionage attacks are increasingly hitting the manufacturing sector as well as small businesses, which are the target of 31 percent of these attacks. In addition, consumers remain vulnerable to ransomware and mobile threats, particularly on the Android platform.

“This year’s ISTR shows that cybercriminals aren’t slowing down, and they continue to devise new ways to steal information from organisations of all sizes. The sophistication of attacks coupled with today’s IT complexities, such as virtualisation, mobility and cloud, require organisations to remain proactive and use ‘defense in depth’ security measures to stay ahead of attacks,” said Sheldon Hand, Symantec territory manager, Indian Ocean Islands, West and Central Africa, Symantec.

Symantec protects the world’s information, and is a global leader in security, backup and availability solutions. Its innovative products and services protect people and information in any environment – from the smallest mobile device, to the enterprise data center, to cloud-based systems. Its world-renowned expertise in protecting data, identities and interactions gives the  customers confidence in a connected world.

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