Targeted APT attacks experienced by one in five security professionals

ISACA poll shows confusion about scale of threat

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) could be more of a mainstream security problem than previously thought after a survey of high-level security professionals found that an alarming one in five worked for a firm that had experienced such an attack.

The poll of 1,500 of its members by respected global qualifications body ISACA also discovered that two out of three thought it was only a matter of time before such a highly-targeted attack occurred in their organisations.

Comfortingly, six out of ten believed their organisations would be able to cope with an APT if it happened with more than half claiming they had an incident management plan already in place.

Eighty percent of those who thought themselves likely victims said they were "very prepared."

Can surveys be believed, even ones that pick on a meaningful cross-section of the very professionals whose job it is to defend against them?

In the case of ISACA's poll, probably. APTs are a relatively new concept and the survey did uncover a believable confusion about the term and its implications.

More than half said they did not believe that APTs differed from conventional security threats - a slightly complacent attitude - although the majority did correctly identify intellectual property as most at risk from APT incursions.

Sixty percent said they defended against the possibility of an APT by monitoring logs, accepted as a critical part of a defence against the threat.

Eight out of ten mentioned antivirus as a primary defence despite plenty of anecdotal evidence that this layer is ineffective in defending against targeted attacks.

"Traditional cyberthreats often move right on if they cannot penetrate their initial target, but an APT will continually attempt to penetrate the desired target until it meets its objective, said ISACA spokesperson and Intralot Group head of information security, Christos Dimitriadis.

"Once it does, it can disguise itself and morph when needed, making it difficult to identify or stop."

A major issue remained that too many firms relied on conventional perimeter security to stop APTs, ignoring the inadequancy of this design to cope with threats entering through mobile and BYOD computing.

"Enterprises are under attack and they don't even know it. Bringing this awareness into the curriculum of education for security professionals is necessary to enable them to build the custom defense they need to combat these targeted attacks," commented Trend Micro vice president Tom Kellermann, whose company sponsored the ISACA report.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Configuration / maintenanceISACAsecurityhardware systemsData Centre

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E Dunn

Techworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?