18% of govt & defense inst encountered a targeted attack over past 12 months: survey

Written by Heena Jhingan | Updated: Jun 23 2014, 20:51pm hrs
Security threatBusiness segments have felt the brunt of targeted attacks at a higher-than-average rate. (Thinkstock)
In a survey of nearly 4,000 IT managers across 27 countries, Kaspersky Lab have not only found that targeted attacks on the rise year-over-year, but also identified the business sectors most likely to be targeted. Globally, 18% of organisations in the Government & Defense sector reported at least one targeted attack within the past 12 months. The rate of targeted attacks reported within the Government & Defense sector was the highest rate reported in this years survey, a notable increase from the global average of 12% reported across all business sectors.

When looking at data across all business sectors, its also clear that targeted attacks are not limited to the Government & Defense industry. Other business segments have felt the brunt of targeted attacks at a higher-than-average rate, including the Telecommunications industry where 17% of businesses reported targeted attacks, and the Financial Services and Transportation & Logistics sectors, both of which reported targeted attacks within the last 12 months at a rate of 16%.

The survey responses show the overall number of targeted attacks to be increasing as well. The 12% of all businesses reporting a targeted attack in 2013 has risen from the 9% average reported in 2013 and 2012.

Conducted in partnership with B2B International, these results have been published in Kaspersky Labs 2014 IT Security Risks summary report, which outlines the types of internal and external security risks most often encountered by businesses across a variety of industries, along with the costs associated with an IT security incident, the types of data most lost as a result of these attacks, and more.

About 94% of companies reportedly encountered at least one externally-sourced data security incident within the past 12 months, including phishing attacks, DDoS attacks, and theft of mobile devices. In 28% of these instances, business reported the loss of sensitive business data.

While the overall amount of data stolen from targeted attacks is lower than the losses that result from general malware attacks, it must be noted that general malware attacks themselves are much more common (an average of 61% of businesses reported malware attacks compared to an average of 12% reported targeted attacks). However, the value of the data stolen from a targeted attack is much more likely to be highly valuable to the attackers, and the loss of this highly-sensitive data (future product plans, company financial statements, etc.) would cause more long-term damage to a companys business outlook.