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Companies still unprepared for cyber attacks: Deloitte

Eighty-eight per cent of survey participants did not see their company as vulnerable

Many enterprises around the world think they are prepared for cyber attacks but the reality is that any organisation is at risk of a security breach, consulting firm Deloitte has warned.

Deloitte released the results from its sixth annual global Cyber Security Survey which was conducted with 121 technology, media and telecommunications companies. Fifteen per cent of the participants were from the Asia Pacific region.

The survey found that 88 per cent of executives who took part did not see their company as vulnerable. In addition, 60 per cent of participants rated their ability to respond to newly developed threats as either average or high.

According to Deloitte technology risk leader Dean Kingsley, this attitude needed to change as most passwords can be cracked in five hours.

“Businesses need to assume a breach will happen and prepare accordingly by shifting from pure prevention to detection and response planning,” he said in a statement.

“The goal is to create a resilient organisation that can bounce back quickly from attacks.”

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Third-party breaches a top threat

Despite the confident attitudes expressed by executives, the survey results also found that 59 per cent of participants had experienced a security breach in 2012 while 78 per cent cited breaches at third parties as one of their top three threats.

“Companies need to move beyond pure contractual arrangements with their suppliers and other third parties, such as government agencies, and be more willing to co-operate in order to reduce weak links,” Kingsley said.

According to the survey, only 30 per cent of respondents believed that the third party organisations they work with are taking enough responsibility for cyber security.

BYOD a big risk

Mobile and bring your own device (BYOD) were also cited as challenges to IT security teams with 74 per cent of executives ranking it as their second biggest risk. However, only 52 per cent said they had specific BYOD policies in place and 10 per cent did not address mobile security risks at all.

Hacktivisim a concern

According to Deloitte Australia national security and resilience lead Tommy Viljoen, hacktivisim was referred to in the survey for the first time with 63 per cent rating it as a “major concern.”

“This vulnerability to hacktivism reflects that cyber attacks can now come from anywhere, and be prompted by perceived controversial business practices and decisions, often highlighted through social media,” he said.

“Recognising the threat of hacktivisim, organisations are starting to gather intelligence relating to it and other types of cyber crime incidents.”

Over 50 per cent of executives stated that they collect general information about hacktivism while 40 per cent collect information about attacks specifically targeting their organisation, industry, brand or customers.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia