Malware targeting small businesses: Symantec report

  • Daily targeted attacks continued to increase at a minimum rate of 24%
  • Spam rate declines, virus rate increases in Malaysia

Malware targeting small businesses: Symantec reportTHE June 2012 Symantec Intelligence Report shows that 36% of all targeted attacks (58 per day) in the last six months were directed at businesses with 250 or fewer employees, compared with 18% at the end of December 2011.
 
During the first half of the year, the total number of daily targeted attacks continued to increase at a minimum rate of 24% with an average of 151 targeted attacks being blocked each day during May and June.
 
Large enterprises consisting of more than 2,500 employees are still receiving the greatest number of attacks, with an average 69 being blocked each day.
 
“There appears to be a direct correlation between the rise in attacks against smaller businesses and a drop in attacks against larger ones. It almost seems attackers are diverting their resources directly from the one group to the other,” said Paul Wood (pic), cyber security intelligence manager, Symantec.
 
“It may be that your company is not the primary target, but an attacker may use your organization as a stepping-stone to attack another company. You do not want your business to be the weakest link in the supply chain.
 
“Information is power, and the attackers know this, and successful attacks can result in significant financial advantage for the cyber criminals behind them. Access to intellectual property and strategic intelligence can give them huge advantages in a competitive market,” he said.
 
The defense industry (a sub category of the Public Sector) has been the targeted industry of choice in the first half of the year, with an average of 7.3 attacks per day.
 
The Chemical/ Pharmaceutical and Manufacturing sectors still maintain the No 2 and 3 spots respectively. These targets have clearly received a smaller percentage of overall attention than in 2011, but the Chemical/ Pharmaceutical sector is still hit by one in every five targeted attacks, while Manufacturing still accounts for almost 10% of all targeted attacks.
 
Other highlights:
 
Spam: In June, the global ratio of spam in email traffic fell by 1.0 percentage point since May, to 66.8 percent (1 in 1.5 emails). This follows the continuing trend of global spam levels diminishing gradually since the latter part of 2011.
 
Phishing: In June, the global phishing rate increased by 0.04 percentage points, taking the global average rate to one in 467.6 emails (0.21 percent) that comprised some form of phishing attack.
 
E-mail-borne Threats: The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic was one in 316.5 emails (0.31 percent) in June, an increase of 0.04 percentage points since May. In June, 27.4 percent of email-borne malware contained links to malicious Web sites, 1.2 percentage points lower than May.
 
Web-based Malware Threats: In June, Symantec Intelligence identified an average of 2,106 Web sites each day harboring malware and other potentially unwanted programs including spyware and adware; an decrease of 51.7 percent since May.
 
Endpoint Threats: The most frequently blocked malware for the last month was WS.Trojan.H. WS.Trojan.H is a generic, cloud-based, heuristic detection for files that possess characteristics of an as-yet unclassified threat.
 
In Malaysia, the spam rate declined to 66.5% (67.4% last month), compared with the global spam rate of 66.8%; while the virus rate increased to 1 in 565.9 (1 in 632.6 last month), compared with the global rate of 1 in 316.7.
Malware targeting small businesses: Symantec report 

 
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