International data threat higher than ever

A new study suggests that the threat to the IT infrastructures that keep economies around the globe afloat is higher than ever before. Security vendor McAfee commissioned the report and said that the results suggest that international attacks are creating a form of digital cold war and fraying relations between nations.

McAfee said that the report estimates the cost of attacks on infrastructures at around 3.7 million a day. This is according to the results of a survey that involved over 600 leading technicians who have a responsibility to protect various vital IT infrastructures in more than 14 countries.

According to the report’s findings nearly two thirds of those questioned said that they believed public authorities in foreign nations had taken an active role in instigating attacks against secure infrastructures. Denial of service attacks were also revealed to be widespread, with one third of respondents revealing that they suffered from multiple monthly incidents of this kind, resulting in a business continuity nightmare.

The report also found that around 33 per cent of respondents were convinced that attacks on infrastructures are on the increase in terms of both severity and frequency and 40 per cent said that they were anticipating a serious breach of security over the next 12 months.

It is believed by a majority of respondents that criminals are motivated to attack by the desire to take control of the infrastructures and their resources. Malware and viruses are the most common means of access used and criminals are generally in search of financial data when they attack.

Despite the apparent awareness of the heightened threat within the community, many respondents did not believe that their nation’s governments were adequately prepared for attacks that could cripple both private and public organisations and lead to data loss disasters. 33 per cent said that the current measures were inadequate when faced with the endless assault.

McAfee’s George Kurtz said that private sector ownership of infrastructures was stalling the process of increasing security, as there was relatively low motivation outside of public organisations to act and that financial pressures, not national security, are key in dictating the actions of private organisations.

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