cyber-crime

A new report ? the Symantec Corp.?s Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 18 (ISTR) released yesterday, May 13, 2013, has revealed a 42 percent surge in cyber fraud during 2012 in targeted attacks compared to the prior year.

The report, which lists top 30 countries in Africa in terms of their internet security threat profile, also reveals increase in cyberespionage ? including threefold increase in small business attacks.

Designed to steal intellectual property, these targeted cyberespionage attacks are increasingly hitting the manufacturing sector as well as small businesses, which are the target of 31 percent of these attacks.

In addition, consumers remain vulnerable to ransomware and mobile threats, particularly on the Android platform, a statement issued in Dubai by the Symantec Corporation said.

Commenting on the rise in cybercrimes as indicated by the just released report, Sheldon Hand, territory manager, Indian Ocean Islands, West and Central Africa, Symantec, said: ?This year?s ISTR shows that cybercriminals aren?t slowing down, and they continue to devise new ways to steal information from organisations of all sizes.?

?The sophistication of attacks coupled with today?s IT complexities, such as virtualisation, mobility and cloud, require organisations to remain proactive and use ?defense in depth? security measures to stay ahead of attacks,? he recommended.

According to the statement announcing release of the new report, key highlights are that small businesses are the path of least resistance, the manufacturing sector and knowledge workers become primary targets, while mobile malware put consumers and businesses at risk.

The report indicates that targeted attacks on businesses with fewer than 250 employees are growing, and that small businesses are now the target of 31 percent of all attacks, representing a threefold increase from 2011.

It also indicates that while small businesses may feel they are immune to targeted attacks, cybercriminals are enticed by these organisations? bank account information, customer data, intellectual property and the knowledge that they often lack adequate security practices and infrastructure.

Further, shifting from governments, manufacturing has moved to the top of the list of industries targeted for attacks in 2012, according to the report.

The Internet Security Threat Report reveals that often by going after manufacturing companies in the supply chain, attackers gain access to sensitive information of a larger company.

In addition, in 2012 the most commonly targeted victims of these types of attacks were knowledge workers, representing 27 percent of victims with access to intellectual property, while those in sales represented 24 percent.

Touching on malware, the report says in 2012 alone, mobile malware increased by 58 percent, and 32 percent of all mobile threats attempted to steal information, such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

Android?s market share, its open platform and the multiple distribution methods available to distribute malicious apps, make it the go-to platform for attackers, the ISTR reveals.

By Edmund Smith-Asante/ghanabusinessnews.com

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