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A new study* has identified that hackers are increasingly using the region as a test bed for malicious software (‘malware’) before widespread deployment.
During a six-month monitoring period in 2013, Europe suffered some 973,000 attacks, compared to 480,000 across Asia and 224,000 in the US. The UK is seemingly targeted for a disproportionate number of attacks relative to its size.
Regardless of the country targeted, the methods used by cyber criminals are fairly consistent across the globe.
Leading forms of cyber attacks
The most common cyber threats in cloud hosting provider environments and data centres are:
• Web application attacks – criminals attempt to access user names and other commercially valuable information stored by finding a weakness in the web application itself
• ‘Brute force’ – a trial and error method used to decode encrypted data through exhaustive effort rather than brainpower
• Attempted reconnaissance or ‘recon’ – scanning to gather information (e.g. operating system used and open ports) to uncover vulnerabilities and lay the groundwork for a future attack
• Malware/botnet attacks – programs disguised as legitimate applications that instead inflict harm to the computer or server by performing unauthorised actions or disrupting the performance of the computer network by other means
• Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks – a multitude of compromised systems flood a single system with incoming messages, effectively forcing it to shut down and thereby denying service to legitimate users
The increasing take-up of VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) technology by companies has led to an increase in malware/botnet attacks, which more than doubled from 5% in 2012 to 11% in 2013.
DDoS attacks remain a huge problem for European businesses. Already this year we’ve seen high profile attacks of this nature on government organisations, banks, retailers, travel firms and facilities management companies. When the web is a key revenue-generating source, the cost of downtime resulting from a DDoS attack can quickly escalate to a six or seven figure sum – so it’s not a threat to be taken lightly.
In Part 2, we’ll examine what organisations can do to protect themselves against these threats.
*To receive a copy of the report, email us.