By Lilian Mutegi
About 99 per cent of mobile malware in 2013 targeted Android devices while Java continues to be the most frequently exploited programming language targeted by online criminals according to Cisco’s 2014 Annual Security Report.
The report reveals that threats designed to take advantage of users’ trust in systems, applications and personal networks have reached startling levels.
The report indicates a shortage of more than a million security professionals across the globe in 2014. The sophistication of the technology and tactics used by online criminals and their nonstop attempts to breach networks and steal data have outpaced the ability of IT and security professionals to address these threats. Most organizations do not have the people or the systems to continuously monitor extended networks and detect infiltrations, and then apply protections, in a timely and effective manner.
“Organizations across Africa must realize that it is no longer if they will be targeted by cyber-attacks, but rather when. Chief Information Security Officers face growing pressure to protect terabytes of data on an increasingly porous network, manage information safely especially on the cloud, and evaluate the risks of working with third-party vendors for specialized solutions all in the wake of shrinking budgets and leaner IT teams,” said David Meads, VP, Cisco in Africa.
The report’s findings offer a vivid picture of rapidly evolving security challenges facing businesses, IT departments and individuals. Attacker methods include socially engineered theft of passwords and credentials, hide-in-plain-sight infiltrations, and exploitation of the trust required for economic transactions, government services and social interactions.
According to Sabrina Dar, GM, Cisco East Africa, “Although the Cisco Annual Security Report paints a grim picture of the current state of cyber security, there is hope for restoring trust in people, institutions and technologies and that starts with empowering defenders with real-world knowledge about expanding attack surfaces. To truly protect against all of these possible attacks, defenders must understand the attackers, their motivations and their methods – before, during and after an attack. Today’s advanced threats that can attack hosts through a combination of different vectors require a continuous security response.”
Other key highlights from the report indicated that there was an increased sophistication and proliferation of the threat landscape. Simple attacks that caused containable damage have given way to organized cybercrime operations that are sophisticated, well-funded, and capable of significant economic and reputational damage to public and private sector victims.
There has also been an increased complexity of threats and solutions due to rapid growth in intelligent mobile device adoption and cloud computing provide a greater attack surface than ever before. New classes of devices and new infrastructure architectures offer attackers opportunities to exploit unanticipated weaknesses and inadequately defended assets.
Cybercriminals have learned that harnessing the power of Internet infrastructure yields far more benefits than simply gaining access to individual computers or devices. These infrastructure-scale attacks seek to gain access to strategically positioned web hosting servers, name servers and data centres with the goal of proliferating attacks across legions of individual assets served by these resources. By targeting Internet infrastructure, attackers undermine trust in everything connected to or enabled by it.
Ms Dar Sabrina also pointed out that the report highlighted the growth of insecurity incidences in Agriculture and Mining, Electronics, Energy including oil and gas and Pharmaceutical and Chemical sectors.However, she noted that statistics on banking still remain scanty due to the unwillingness of most financial institutions to share their experiences on online insecurities.
Article source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201410241686.html