Cyber Crimes Success Depends Most On Users, Says Study By Symantec (SYMC) And Verizon (VZ)
Hackers are able to get away with most of their attacks on a company mostly because of a mistake on the side of employees. In their respective security studies, Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) and Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ:SYMC) established the link between successful breaches and poor scrutiny by the target.
The studies show that the vast majority of cyber attacks succeed because employees in the targeted company click on links in malicious emails or companies fail to seal security loopholes in their systems. The other reason for the successful attacks is when system technicians fail to do proper configuration.
San Francisco security conference
When company executives meet in San Francisco this week, for what has been described as the largest technology security conference in the world, the blunders that aid hacking will surely be on their minds. The disruption caused by hacking and the cost of restoring comprised systems mean that executives can only push for greater scrutiny and awareness among their employees, now that research shows that users may be partly to blame for some hacking incidents.
The San Francisco conference has the security arm of EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC), known as RSA, as the lead sponsor.
The security reports
Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) says, in its security analysis, that over two-thirds of the nearly 290 spying cases that it learned about last year had their origin in trick emails, what the security industry calls phishing. The company further found that many people end up clicking on links or attachments in tainted emails, which means that if hackers are able to send such malicious emails to just 10 people in a company, they are 90% sure of success.
Hackers use tainted emails to install malware and steal employee login details, and then use the login credentials to gain access to corporate files and programs.
According to Symantec Corp, government sponsored spies also take advantage of trick emails to gain access to the system of the targeted entities. The reason for this is that phishing is a less sophisticated technique that is not likely to draw intense scrutiny by the target.
Symantec also talked about a trend that is called ransom ware. This is where hackers encrypt files of a target and may or may not ask for payments to release the files. In some cases, hackers do not ask for payment, which raises the question about what they intend to achieve.
Cost of cyber attack
On the issue of costs related to cyber breaches, Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) came up with a model that shows that the loss of 100,000 records, due to hacking, should, on the average, cost about $475,000. The loss of 100 million records should, on the average, cost $8.85 million.
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