Symantec has today launched its annual Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR), which reveals highly-skilled cyber criminals with skills sets that echo those of nation-state attackers, are fuelling an exponential growth in online crime. This is leaving businesses at risk of suffering more than 3 cyber-attacks a year according to new research from Symantec who are calling for CISOs to plan for more than one attack. Cyber criminals are adopting corporate best practices and establishing professional businesses in order to increase the efficiency of their attacks against enterprises and consumers. This new class of professional cybercriminal spans the entire ecosystem of attackers, extending the reach of enterprise and consumer threats and fuelling the growth of online crime.
Over Half a Billion Personal Information Records Stolen or Lost in 2015
Data breaches continue to impact the enterprise. In fact, large businesses that are targeted for attack will on average be targeted three more times within the year. Additionally, we saw the largest data breach ever publicly reported last year with 191 million records compromised in a single incident. There were also a record-setting total of nine reported mega-breaches. While 429 million identities were exposed, the number of companies that chose not to report the number of records lost jumped by 85 per cent. A conservative estimate by Symantec of those unreported breaches pushes the real number of records lost to more than half a billion.
“The increasing number of companies choosing to hold back critical details after a breach is a disturbing trend,” said Haley. “Transparency is critical to security. By hiding the full impact of an attack, it becomes more difficult to assess the risk and improve your security posture to prevent future attacks.”
Encryption Now Used as a Cybercriminal Weapon to Hold Companies’ and Individuals’ Critical Data Hostage
Ransomware also continued to evolve in 2015, with the more damaging style of crypto-ransomware attacks growing by 35 per cent. This more aggressive crypto-ransomware attack encrypts all of a victim’s digital content and holds it hostage until a ransom is paid. This year, ransomware spread beyond PCs to smartphones, Mac and Linux systems, with the UK suffering up to 2,215 attacks per day, the third highest in the world. With attackers increasingly seeking any network-connected device that could be held hostage for profit, indicating that the enterprise is the next target.
Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You: Cyber Scammers Now Make You Call Them to Hand Over Your Cash
As people conduct more of their lives online, attackers are increasingly focused on using the intersection of the physical and digital world to their advantage. In 2015, Symantec saw a resurgence of many tried-and-true scams. Cybercriminals revisited fake technical support scams, which saw a 200 per cent increase last year, with the UK the second most targeted nation globally, suffering 7,672,112 attacks in 2015. The difference now is that scammers send fake warning messages to devices like smartphones, driving users to attacker-run call centres in order to dupe them into buying useless services.
About the Internet Security Threat Report
The Internet Security Threat Report provides an overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity. The report is based on data from Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network, which Symantec analysts use to identify, analyze and provide commentary on emerging trends in attacks, malicious code activity, phishing, and spam.