Finance sector most vulnerable as Asia Pacific comes under attack

Finance sector most vulnerable as Asia Pacific comes under attack

Vertical is predominantly targeted by service-specific attacks

Mark Thomas (Dimension Data)

Mark Thomas (Dimension Data)

Finance is the most attacked sector in Asia Pacific, accounting for 26 per cent of security breaches across the region.

Despite this number dropping from 46 per cent in 2016, figures from the past 12 months still highlight a vertical exposed and under threat, as increased vulnerabilities flood the market.

Spanning banking, investment funds, insurance companies and real estate, finance is predominantly targeted by service-specific attacks, as revealed by recent Dimension Data research.

“Once again, finance was the most attacked sector,” observed Mark Thomas, group CTO of security at Dimension Data. “Attractive and lucrative in its ability to generate profits with minimal risk of attribution of interdiction, cyber crime is a pervasive threat.

“Diversification of illicit subscription services, automated software toolkits, and vast online criminal support forums are reducing barriers to entry.

“Cyber criminal ingenuity continues to mature, making the most of attack opportunities arising from new technology adoption.”

Leveraging intelligence from parent company NTT, the global technology provider cited education as the second most under siege sector in Asia Pacific, with brute forcing attacks jumping from nine per cent in 2016, to 18 per cent in 2017.

Further down the list came technology (16 per cent), closely followed by retail (15 per cent) and government (13 per cent), with the latter falling victim to network manipulation attacks.

As a result, the manufacturing sector dropped out of the top five most targeted sectors this year, moving to sixth position across the region (seven per cent), despite ranking second the year previous (32 per cent).

“In 2017, the World Economic Forum rated cyber security as one of the top risks facing the world today,” Thomas added. “Independently, business leaders reprioritised cyber security as a strategic initiative demanding further focus and investment.

“It remained top of mind and gained significant media attention, as cyber criminals showed how easy it is to disrupt digital business while continuing to adapt their tradecraft to target specific business, industry and geographic profiles.”

From a technology perspective, the top attack type within the region for all industry sectors was brute forcing at 26 per cent, which is a cryptanalytic attack capable of decrypting any encrypted data.

Meanwhile, virus and worms combined to account for 66 per cent of malware across Asia Pacific, compared to 23 per cent of global malware, indicating a lack of investment in endpoint controls.

Delving deeper, spyware and key loggers were low at four per cent, compared to 26 per cent globally, with ransomware measuring at only two per cent, below global figures of seven per cent.

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