Chi­nese firms hit by huge in­crease in cy­ber attacks

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

Cy­ber attacks on Chi­nese com­pa­nies have soared in the past two years, ac­cord­ing to a survey, with new tech­nolo­gies that con­nect house­hold items to the in­ter­net and al­low them to re­ceive and send data seen as par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble.

The av­er­age num­ber of cy­ber attacks de­tected by com­pa­nies in main­land China and Hong Kong grew 969 per­cent be­tween 2014 and 2016. The num­ber of attacks av­er­aged more than 7 a day for each of the survey’s 440 China-based re­spon­dents - around half of the global av­er­age of 13.

How­ever, the av­er­age num­ber of attacks fell by 3 per­cent glob­ally over the last two years, and 30 per­cent since 2015, in con­trast to the rise in China. China’s rapid adop­tion of new con­sumer and in­dus­trial tech­nol­ogy for the ‘In­ter­net of Things (IoT)’ era may be part of the rea­son. PwC said such con­nected de­vices are the lead­ing tar­gets of cy­ber-attacks. “IoT de­vices in gen­eral have not paid at­ten­tion to cy­ber se­cu­rity,” said Marin Ivezic, a part­ner on cy­ber se­cu­rity at PwC in Hong Kong. “In China and Hong Kong ... we have more adop­tion than any­where else in the world,” he said, not­ing China was also one of the biggest man­u­fac­tur­ers of these items.

Chi­nese-made con­nected home de­vices such as we­b­cams with se­cu­rity loop­holes that gave way to bot­net mal­wares were blamed by se­cu­rity re­searchers for a mas­sive cy­ber at­tack in the US last month that tem­po­rar­ily par­a­lyzed ma­jor in­ter­net sites.

The Chi­nese com­pa­nies sur­veyed had cut their cy­ber­se­cu­rity bud­get by 7.6 per­cent in 2016 com­pared with flat global spending. Thirty four per­cent of them iden­ti­fied com­peti­tors as a source of attacks, a rate higher than any­where else in the world.

The PwC survey does not track the coun­try of ori­gin of the attacks, which Ivezic said is “al­most im­pos­si­ble”. The drop in the global num­ber of cy­ber attacks did not re­flect a safer en­vi­ron­ment, he said, but was rather the re­sult of more so­phis­ti­cated cy­ber crim­i­nals who more selective in who they tar­geted. — Reuters

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