The Symantec Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) 2013 reveals how the threat landscape is evolving, compiling information from more than 69 million attack sensors in 157 countries around the world. This year’s report shows more targeted attacks, inceasing focus on smaller businesses, and the continued development of new threats.
Targeted attacks, hacktivism, and data breaches
Targeted attacks saw a 42 percent increase in 2012, to 116 per day on average, with a corresponding increase in data theft and incidents of industrial espionage. Attackers are changing their targets, as well. Small businesses make up a larger percentage of those targeted for attack then in 2011—a threefold increase–with 31 percent of all targeted attacks directed at companies with less than 250 employees. Attackers are finding valuable data to steal from small companies and fewer defenses in place to stop them. Manufacturing is now the most targeted business sector, making up 24 percent of targeted attacks. One of the most significant innovations in targeted attacks is the emergence of watering hole attacks. The attackers compromise the security of a website that an intended target is likely to visit, once the target visits the website their computer becomes infected with malware. This successful tactic, popularized by a group known as the Elderwood Gang, has infected up to 500 companies in a single day.