Manufacturing most attacked industry

Manufacturing was the most attacked industry last year, according to a recent report by Symantec.


ISS SourceWhile manufacturers over the years have delayed or put off various levels of defense in depth measures, a new report by security company Symantec just backs up the idea the industry is under attack.

Manufacturing leads the pack as being the most attacked industry at 24%, the Symantec report said. Manufacturing ended up followed by finance, insurance and real estate companies at 19% and by non-traditional services at 17%, Symantec said.

Meanwhile, small businesses are under the targeted eye of cyber criminals these days because, simply put, they are easy pickings due to their less sophisticated defenses, the report said.

It only makes sense because big businesses can afford to spend money on a strong defense in depth program, but the small guys have a more difficult time protecting the crown jewels.

Companies with 250 employees or less absorbed 18% of targeted cyber attacks in 2011, but the figure jumped to 31% in 2012, said Symantec in its Internet Security Threat Report 2013, released Tuesday.

“While it can be argued that the rewards of attacking a small business are less than what can be gained from a large enterprise, this is more than compensated by the fact that many small companies are typically less careful in their cyber defenses,” the report said.

Organizations between 251 employees to 2,500 ended up targeted 19% of the time, with companies with more than 2,500 employees making up the remaining 50%, Symantec said. The company said it detected a 42% increase overall in cyber attacks in 2012 compared to 2011.

Employees in research and development and sales functions are prime targets for hackers, and Symantec said it saw a large increase in attacks directed at those roles.

“This suggests that attackers are casting a wider net and targeting less senior positions below the executive level in order to gain access to companies,” the report said.

The websites of small businesses also prove attractive to criminals to plant malicious software in order to gain a foothold in other companies. If a user visits a hacked website, the person’s web browser will undergo probing for software vulnerabilities. The method of using a company’s website as bait is a “watering hole” attack, Symantec said.

“For example, an attacker may infiltrate a small supplier in order to use it as a spring board into a larger company,” Symantec said.

Small businesses may have less cash on hand for hackers to steal, but the companies may have other data, such as customer information or intellectual property, which hacker may value more than money.

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