A new report has found that whilst 45% of all network security attacks are due to malware, many of these could be prevented if businesses had sufficient basic protection such as anti-virus and "effective vulnerability lifecycle management”.
NTT Groups’ 2014 Global Threat Intelligence Report highlights the need for businesses to get the basics right if they are to protect against the growing incidence of malware that appears each year. The researchers working on the report collected and studied data from around three billion attacks that took place in 2013.
It was found that more than half of the vulnerabilities detected during scans had had patches available for a minimum of two years. It was also found that anti-virus software failed to detect around 54% of new malware incidents, highlighting the need for a more layered approach to security.
This is further highlighted in a different report which found that 10% of the top malware scanners didn’t pick up new threats even after they had been around for a year.
Not carrying out basic security procedures such as applying patches is costing more and more, with one company in the report said to have saved almost £65,000 by prioritising controls and putting risk in context. As threats become increasingly sophisticated, and costs rise, it’s more important than ever to get it right.
Just carrying out the basics will help to reduce the risk of attack and help firms to respond if an attack is carried out. One of the most important of these basics is vulnerability scanning, especially since the regularity of vulnerabilities is increasing. The report states that with this in mind, every IT department should have the ability to analyse and collect logs which can then be stored for use in investigative reports.
Another worrying trend noted in the report is the lack of incident response planning, as a huge 77% of companies said that they have no response document at all. This means that these firms will be unprepared for any attack and this could affect their bottom line.
By working with trusted security providers, companies can mitigate the risk, as well as prepare fully for an attack, the report said. This helps to support the in-house skills of the company employees and enables the business to better concentrate on what needs to be done in order to understand and manage risk based on informed decisions.
The report also recommended that businesses carry out Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) simulation, which follows the path that an attacker attempting to breach the organisational data would take.
It also said that companies which carry out PCI DSS scanning have a smaller vulnerability footprint and can respond to threats faster by up to three times that of those that don’t.
The report once again highlights the fact that, whilst businesses continue to cite security as one of their top concerns, not enough are doing enough to address it even at the most basic of levels.