It’s probably not a jaw-dropper, but cyberespionage is officially on the rise. Meanwhile, use of stolen or misused credentials is still the leading way cybercriminals gain access to corporate information. So says the 2014 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.
With 511 incidents, there’s more than a three-fold increase in cyberespionage compared with the 2013 report. Retail point-of-sale (POS) attacks continue to trend downward. And the report points out that 85 percent of insider and privilege-abuse attacks used the corporate LAN, and 22 percent took advantage of physical access.
The trends are clear, but what does all this mean for the enterprise? We caught up with Tom Cross, director of research at network security solution provider Lancope, to get his opinion on the takeaways from the report. He told us the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report paints a picture of how point-of-sale attacks have evolved.
Adopt Unappealing Technology
“POS terminals that are directly connected to the open Internet by small businesses represent low hanging fruit that is incredibly easy to pluck,” said Cross. “In the past year we know that POS malware was used in much more sophisticated attacks against larger, better defended retail establishments.”
Cross said this process mirrors what we expect to see with other kinds of embedded systems associated with the Internet of Things. If there is a business model associated with attacking devices, he said, it will be pursued. If those attacks prove lucrative, they’ll be repeated. It’s all about one motive: money.
Cross’ favorite recommendation in the report is the suggestion that organizations adopt unappealing technology in order to deter theft.
“It reminds me of a scene in one of William Gibson's novels in which someone is applying spray-on rust to a brand new bicycle in order to make it look unattractive to thieves,” Cross said. “Sometimes, having the latest tech gadgets can make you a target, and it’s all the more troublesome if you happened to have loaded a bunch of sensitive information onto that gadget right before it grew legs.”
Reactions to the Report
Here are some other reactions from security experts:
Eric Chiu, president and cofounder at HyTrust, the control company, said, “This report, combined with major breaches such as Target, Michaels, Adobe and Edward Snowden, should be a wake-up call to every organization to rethink security from an 'inside-out' model and assume the bad guy is already on the network. Companies need to implement access controls, role-based monitoring and encryption to ensure that critical systems and sensitive data are protected.”
Adam Kujawa, head of malware intelligence at Malwarebytes, an anti-malware software company, said, “Moving forward, we can expect the government actor underworld we have been hearing so much about in the news and the cybercriminal underworld we experience first-hand to start and use the same tactics. While we are going to continue to see the slew of banker Trojans, information stealing malware and tech support or anti-virus scammers, the larger organizations will go after bigger targets.”
And Kevin O'Brien, director of Product Marketing at CloudLock, a cloud security firm, said, “Notably, there are no major breaches coming from the public cloud sector. That doesn't mean that the cloud is immune to or loss, but rather, this is likely the next major front for security incidents.”