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Symantec report: Cybercriminals love Indian enterprises, social media adding fuel to fire

The most worrisome trend was the doubling in the number of zero-day attacks from 24 in 2014 to 54 in 2015

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Updated: April 24, 2016 8:55:14 am
The most worrisome trend was the doubling in the number of zero-day attacks from 24 in 2014 to 54 in 2015 (Source: Symantec) The most worrisome trend was the doubling in the number of zero-day attacks from 24 in 2014 to 54 in 2015 (Source: Symantec)

Enterprises in India were the sixth most targeted globally by cyber-criminals, with victim firms often being subjected to at least two attacks, says the latest edition of Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report.

Public utilities and financial sector were most likely to be targeted again while mining was the highest risk prone sector with at least half the companies recording at least one attack in the last year.

Forty percent of BFSI businesses were also attacked at least once, the report said, pushing India up to No. 3 ranking for most financial Trojan infections globally as per a recent research by Symantec on Financial Threats 2015.

While only 30 percent of targeted attacks were on large enterprises (down from 60 percent in 2014), they were six times more likely to be targeted at least once a year compared to small businesses.

Symantec Internet Security Threat Report India ranked No. 3 for most financial Trojan infections globally as per a recent research by Symantec on Financial Threats 2015 (Source: Symantec)

Tarun Kaura, Director – Solution Product Management for Asia Pacific and Japan, Symantec said the most worrisome trend was the doubling in the number of zero-day attacks from 24 in 2014 to 54 in 2015. “In the case of Zero Day attacks no one knows these vulnerabilities existed,” he said, highlighting the case of Italy’s private intelligence contractor Hacking Team ended up being hacked.

Underlining how cyber criminals were becoming more organised, he said: “We are even seeing low-level criminal attackers create call center operations to increase the impact of their scams.” Kaura added that they are now adopting best enterprise practices for coding and even hiring.

The other big trend was malware increasing at a staggering rate with 430 million new malware variants discovered in 2015. Last year is also being called the year of the mega breach with over half a billion records being lost in nine incidents. The largest data breach ever publicly reported was also last year with 191 million records compromised in a single incident, the report said, adding that the number of companies that chose not to report the number of records lost jumped by 85 percent.

India’s fascination with social media means every sixth social media scam impacts the country. The country recorded a 156 per cent increase in social media scams, mostly spread by manual sharing.

On the positive side, India is losing its tag as spam capital of the world, thanks to a steady decrease in the amount of spam originating from its borders. After ranking 6th in 2014, India now ranks 18th as a source of spam. However, it continues to rank as the third top source of overall malicious activity including spam, malware, phishing hosts and bots, the report said.

Kaura also underlined a worrying trend in the case of targeted attacks with the number of such malicious emails and recipients showing a fall. While this might seem positive, he said it actually showed that the cyber criminals were able to execute attacks with fewer emails.

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