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FCW : May 15, 2013
petabytes of data is being created by the Cancer Genome Atlas, generating storage costs as high as $2 million a year for each lab that uses the data 2.5 12 May 15, 2013 FCW.COM Trending Malicious actors increasingly sought out small businesses rather than government entities last year as tar- geted cyberattacks grew by 42 per- cent, according to a new report from Symantec. The company s research shows that the government was hit by 12 percent of cyberattacks last year, making it the fourth most-targeted industry. The No. 1 target was manufacturing, which was the subject of 24 percent of attacks. The shift re ects a change in strategy as hackers seek ways around the stron- ger defenses of large companies. "Attacks against government and public-sector organizations fell from 25 percent in 2011, when it was the most-targeted sector, to 12 percent in 2012," Symantec s Internet Security Threat Report 2013 states. "It s likely [that] the frontline attacks are moving down the supply chain, particularly for small to medium-sized businesses." Companies with fewer than 250 employees were the subject of 31 percent of all attacks, up from 18 per- cent in 2011. Half of all targeted attacks were aimed at companies with fewer than 2,500 employees. "Attackers deterred by a large com- pany s defenses often choose to breach the lesser defenses of a small business that has a business relationship with the attacker s ultimate target, using the smaller company to leapfrog into the larger one," the report states. Additionally, the public sector accounted for nearly two-thirds of identity breaches, according to the report. That nding could have broader implications than one might initially think, Symantec experts said. "This suggests that the public sector should further increase efforts to pro- tect personal information, particularly considering how these organizations are often looked upon as the custo- dians of information for the most vul- nerable in society," the report notes. "Alternatively, this could indicate that the private sector may not be report- ing all data breaches, given how many public-sector organizations are required by law to report breaches." The study also states that malicious actors are increasingly doing their homework and launching attacks tar- geted at speci c people within an orga- nization. The social engineering tactics might not be new, but they do appear to be on the rise. Examples include "messages impersonating European Union of - cials, messages that appear to come from security agencies in the United States and target other government of cials, or messages that piggyback announcements about new procure- ment plans from potential government clients such as the U.S. Air Force," the report states. "This shows extensive research, a sophisticated understand- ing of the motivation of recipients, and makes it much more likely that victims will open attachments that contain malware." The most dramatic ndings related to so-called watering hole attacks that compromise and infect the websites targeted victims are likely to visit. For example, a malicious tracking script was placed on a human rights organi- zation s website to infect visitors by exploiting a zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer. "Our data showed that within 24 hours, people in 500 different large companies and government organiza- tions visited the site and ran the risk of infection," the report notes. "The attackers in this case, known as the Elderwood gang, used sophisticated tools and exploited zero-day vulner- abilities in their attacks, pointing to a well-resourced team backed by a large criminal organization or a nation state." --- Amber Corrin A silver lining in cyberattacks? Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in April that the Distinguished Warfare Medal, which former secretary Leon Panetta had unveiled just three months earlier, would be scrapped. The medal had been intended to honor cyber personnel, drone pilots and others for "extraordinary achievement, not involving acts of valor, directly impacting combat operations or other military operations. " The Pentagon suspended production of the new medal in March pending a 30-day review led by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "While the review con rmed the need to ensure such recognition, " Hagel said, "it found that misconceptions regarding the precedence of the award were distracting from its original purpose. " The plan now is to create a new device that can be af xed to existing medals to recognize cyber personnel and others who would have been eligible for Distinguis Warfare M Hagel said --- FCW sta r the hed Medal, d. aff So much for the cyber medal
April 30, 2013
May 30, 2013