Malicious attacks continue to rise and cybercriminals are shifting their focus from big money-making corporations to small and medium businesses. These are some of the conclusions to be drawn from Symantec's latest Internet Security Threat Report, that the vendor released earlier this month.
Symantec says it blocked more than 5.5 billion malicious attacks in 2011, an increase of 81 percent over the previous year. The number of unique malware variants totalled 403 million and the number of web attacks blocked per day increased by 36 percent over the previous year. However, the security vendor says spam levels dropped considerably and new vulnerabilities discovered decreased by 20 percent compared with 2010.
Targeted attacks continue to rise, having increased from 77 per day in 2010 to 82 per day by the end of 2011.
Symantec says these attacks are also no longer limited to large organisations. "More than 50 percent of such attacks target organisations with fewer than 2500 employees, and almost 18 percent target companies with fewer than 250 employees. These organisations may be targeted because they are in the supply chain or partner ecosystem of a larger company and because they are less well-defended," says the report.
The rise of mobility is also bringing on a new wave of concerns, with an increase in data breaches and a growing concern for lost mobile devices containing valuable data. The trend, says Symantec, will continue. "As tablets and smartphones continue to outsell PCs, more sensitive information will be available on mobile devices. Workers are bringing their smartphones and tablets into the corporate environment faster than many organisations are able to secure and manage them. This may lead to an increase in data breaches as lost mobile devices present risks to information if not properly protected."
"This is a really exciting report in the sense that we are putting more distance between us and the cybercriminals," says Craig Scroggie, Symantec's VP and managing director for the Pacific region. Scroggie points out the decrease in spam levels and new vulnerabilities as one of the positive aspects coming out of this report and adds that a rise in new threats from trends such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) should also be seen as an opportunity for Symantec resellers to educate customers on new solutions and the best ways to stay protected.