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Monday, 23 June 2014 11:46

Web apps and services face a growing risk from targeted attacks

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A quarter of all security attacks in the UK are now targeted at web services and applications with technology companies taking the lion’s share of the threats


A comprehensive analysis of security alerts in 2013 reveals that a quarter of all attacks in the UK were application specific attacks or targeted at web applications.  This is according to a country-by-country breakdown of threat data from global information security and risk management company NTT Com Security’s security operations centres (SOCs) around the world. 


The market sectors most vulnerable to attack in the UK were; technology, with one third of all attacks, followed by transportation (14%), manufacturing (13%) healthcare (13%), financial services (7%), government (5%) and the energy & utilities sector (3%). Technology companies also received the most malware attacks by industry with 59% in the UK.


The UK data shows that most web application attacks occurred through cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection attacks, although sensitive data exposure is also highlighted as a cause for concern in the UK market.  Other notable forms of security attack in the UK include reconnaissance attacks – where an attacker gathers information about weaknesses and vulnerabilities in a network or system – representing nearly a third (31%) of all attacks.


“Given the range of serious security incidents analysed in this data, together with recent major attacks like Heartbleed, what’s particularly worrying is that many organisations do not have a proper incident response team in place and are therefore leaving themselves dangerously exposed,” explains Nick Williams, UK Managed Security Services Solutions Manager at NTT Com Security.


“Our global threat intelligence (GTIR) report released earlier this year revealed that 77% of organisations worldwide have no incident response plan in place, and that the costs associated with responding to incidents are often significantly higher than they should be due to inadequate planning and lack of formal training.  Appropriate response planning and procedures are absolutely critical for minimising the impact of an attack, so companies need to raise their game to enable them to be prepared and to test those capabilities.”


The security data is sourced primarily from NTT Com Security’s security operations centres (SOCs) located in Norway, Sweden and the UK.  Data from Germany, France and the Netherlands is also included, with additional customer information sourced from sensors located around the world. 

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