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A Decade of Breaches

Once again, no one is immune from a breach

Whales Not Included

Being from the Hawaiian Islands, the annual gathering of the Kohola (humpback whales) is always a spectacular view. They can get over half their body out of the water and administer a cannonball body slam splash like you’ve never seen before. Most of the internet thinks they breach to either see what’s up (so to speak), let other whales know they are around (if the haunting squeal isn’t doing it) and most common, to relieve the body of lice, parasites and barnacles.

While nature’s breaches are unmatched, many internet security breaches are run of the mill leakages.

The Verizon 2014 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR) found that over the last 10 years, 92% of the 100,000 security incidents analyzed can be traced to nine basic attack patterns. The patterns identified are:

  • Miscellaneous errors like sending an email to the wrong person
  • Crimeware (malware aimed at gaining control of systems)
  • Insider/privilege misuse
  • Physical theft or loss
  • Web app attacks
  • Denial of service attacks
  • Cyberespionage
  • Point-of-sale intrusions
  • Payment card skimmers

The really cool thing about the 9 attack patterns is that Verizon has also charted the frequency of incident classification patterns per industry vertical. For instance, in financial services 75% of the incidents come from web application attacks, DDoS and card skimming while retail, restaurants and hotels need to worry about point-of-sale intrusions. Utilities and manufacturing on the other hand get hit with cyber-espionage. Overall across all industries, only three threat patterns cover 72 percent of the security incidents in any industry.

Once again, no one is immune from a breach and while media coverage often focuses on the big whales, the bad guys are not targeting organizations because of who they are but because a vulnerability was found and the crooks decided to see if they could get more. This means that companies are not doing some of the basics to stay protected. For the 2014 analysis, there were 1,367 confirmed data breaches and 63,437 security incidents from 50 global companies.

For the most part, the fixes are fairly basic: Use strong authentication, patch vulnerabilities quickly and encrypt devices that contain sensitive information. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the report and highly suggest a through reading.

ps

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Photo: Protected Resources Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, California.

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More Stories By Peter Silva

Peter Silva covers security for F5’s Technical Marketing Team. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Bringing the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together, he covers training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5’s security line. He's also produced over 200 F5 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. Prior to joining F5, he was the Business Development Manager with Pacific Wireless Communications. He’s also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others. He earned his B.S. from Marquette University, and is a certified instructor in the Wisconsin System of Vocational, Technical & Adult Education.