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In­tel Se­cu­rity’s lat­est McAfee Labs Threat Re­port, Septem­ber 2016, has re­vealed that man­u­fac­tur­ing and health­care sec­tors are among the least pre­pared to pre­vent in­for­ma­tion theft, whilst re­tail and fi­nan­cial ser­vices have the great­est cy­ber se­cu­rity pro­tec­tions in place to deal with data loss. In ad­di­tion, the re­port also presents an up­date on cy­ber­at­tacks dur­ing Q2 2016, find­ing ran­somware and new mo­bile mal­ware have reached their high­est level ever recorded.

The re­search comes from a re­cent In­tel Se­cu­rity sur­vey ti­tled 2016 Data Pro­tec­tion Bench­mark Study where In­tel Se­cu­rity in­ter­viewed or­gan­i­sa­tions glob­ally on data loss in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing the types of data leak­ing out and the ways in which data ex­its or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The sur­vey found that re­tail and fi­nan­cial ser­vices or­gan­i­sa­tions have de­ployed the most ex­ten­sive pro­tec­tions against data loss, a find­ing McAfee Labs at­tributes to or­gan­i­sa­tional re­sponses to the fre­quency of cy­ber­at­tacks and the value of the data held by com­pa­nies in these two sec­tors. Hav­ing sus­tained fewer cy­ber­at­tacks his­tor­i­cally, health­care and man­u­fac­tur­ing en­ter­prises have made fewer IT se­cu­rity in­vest­ments and as a re­sult pos­sess the least com­pre­hen­sive data pro­tec­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

McAfee Labs re­searchers find the weaker de­fences in these two sec­tors par­tic­u­larly dis­turb­ing given that cy­ber­crim­i­nals con­tinue to shift their fo­cus from eas­ily re­place­able pay­ment card num­bers to less per­ish­able data such as per­son­ally iden­ti­fi­able in­for­ma­tion, per­sonal health records, in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and busi­ness con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion.

Global gen­eral find­ings from the re­search in­clude:

More than 25 per­cent of com­pa­nies sur­veyed do not mon­i­tor shar­ing of or ac­cess to em­ployee or cus­tomer data.

Nearly 40 per­cent of data losses in­volve some kind of phys­i­cal me­dia, such as thumb drives, how­ever only 37 per­cent of or­gan­i­sa­tions use end­point mon­i­tor­ing of user ac­tiv­ity and phys­i­cal me­dia con­nec­tions that could counter such in­ci­dents.

90 per­cent of re­spon­dents have cloud pro­tec­tion strate­gies, but only 12 per­cent are con­fi­dent in their vis­i­bil­ity into the ac­tiv­ity of their data in the cloud.

Aus­tralian re­sults in­clude:

Aus­tralia and New Zealand are the most likely to em­ploy a Data Loss Preven­tion (DPL) so­lu­tion to mon­i­tor rather than mon­i­tor and block in­ci­dents (59 per­cent). The US is most likely to have set up their DLP so­lu­tion to both mon­i­tor and block in­ci­dents (51 per­cent).

The num­ber of recorded data loss in­ci­dents in Aus­tralia av­er­age 17 per day and is one of the low­est world-wide with a global av­er­age of 20.

Aus­tralia and New Zealand have the low­est ma­tu­rity score in terms of how fully de­ployed their DLP so­lu­tion is (3.65) when com­pared to the global av­er­age (4.10).

APAC coun­tries are more likely to re­port that cer­tain ac­tiv­i­ties cause in­creases in the av­er­age num­ber of in­ci­dents recorded per day. In Aus­tralia and New Zealand, the key causes of in­creases are new project de­ploy­ment (45 per­cent), in­ter­nal or­gan­i­sa­tion (44 per­cent) and merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions (42 per­cent).

The mon­i­tor­ing and block­ing of sus­pi­cious uses of email is most likely to cause the high­est num­ber of daily in­ci­dents on av­er­age glob­ally (21). Aus­tralia and New Zealand are likely to see the high­est in­crease in the num­ber of daily in­ci­dents gen­er­ated as a re­sult of mon­i­tor­ing and block­ing sus­pi­cious use of email (43).

Glob­ally, the rea­sons for em­ploy­ing a DLP so­lu­tion are to pro­tect data ( 77 per­cent), in­dus­try reg­u­la­tory com­pli­ance (56 per­cent), le­gal leg­is­la­tion (52 per­cent), as a re­sult of a data loss in­ci­dent (30 per­cent) and to un­der­stand and man­age data (30 per­cent). Whilst pro­tect­ing data is also key for Aus­tralia and New Zealand (64 per­cent), we are most likely glob­ally to state that a key rea­son for hav­ing a DLP so­lu­tion was as a di­rect re­sult of a data loss in­ci­dent (60 per­cent).

*The re­search was con­ducted glob­ally in May 2016 from 1,000 IT de­ci­sion mak­ers in fi­nan­cial ser­vices, health­care, govern­ment, re­tail and man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries. Of these, 350 were from Aus­tralia and these re­sults are in­cluded above.


In ad­di­tion, the re­port also presents an up­date on cy­ber­at­tacks recog­nised by In­tel Se­cu­rity dur­ing Q2 2016:

Ran­somware – the 1.3 mil­lion new ran­somware sam­ples de­tected in Q2 2016 was the high­est ever recorded since McAfee Labs be­gan track­ing this type of threat. To­tal ran­somware has in­creased 128 per­cent in the past year.

Mo­bile Mal­ware – the nearly 2 mil­lion new mo­bile mal­ware sam­ples was the high­est ever recorded by McAfee Labs. To­tal mo­bile mal­ware has grown 151 per­cent in the past year.

Macro Mal­ware – new down­loader Tro­jans such as Ne­curs and Dridex de­liv­er­ing Locky ran­somware drove a more than 200 per­cent in­crease in new macro mal­ware in Q2.

Mac OS mal­ware – the di­min­ished ac­tiv­ity from the OSX Tro­jan Gen ad­ware fam­ily dropped new Mac OS mal­ware de­tec­tions by 70 per­cent in the sec­ond quar­ter

Bot­net ac­tiv­ity – Wapomi, which de­liv­ers worms and down­load­ers, in­creased by 8 per­cent in Q2. Last quar­ter’s num­ber two, Muieblack­cat, which opens the door to ex­ploits, fell by 11 per­cent. Network At­tacks – As­sess­ing the vol­ume of network at­tacks in Q2, de­nial- of-ser­vice at­tacks gained 11 per­cent in the quar­ter to move into first place. Browser at­tacks dropped by 8 per­cent from Q1. These most prom­i­nent at­tack types were fol­lowed by brute force, SSL, DNS, Scan, back­door and oth­ers.

In­tel Se­cu­rity’s APAC Vice Pres­i­dent Daryush Ash­jari said that the gap be­tween data loss and breach dis­cov­ery is get­ting larger and or­gan­i­sa­tions who haven’t tra­di­tion­ally been the tar­get of cy­ber­at­tacks now need to be aware of the risks as cy­ber­crim­i­nals find new ways to ex­ploit busi­nesses.

“If this isn’t cau­tion enough, the surges in ran­somware to his­toric new heights in Q2 2016 come as a timely re­minder to or­gan­i­sa­tions to en­sure the right prac­tices and poli­cies are in place to keep the busi­ness and its cus­tomers data se­cure at all times. It is be­fit­ting to high­light the im­por­tance of user aware­ness and cor­po­rates’ re­spon­si­bil­ity to ed­u­cate their uses and in­crease their aware­ness when it comes to ran­somware.”

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