Global Threat Intelligence report ahead of Government Cyber Security Summit
A Wellington IT security agency report has found the retail sector had the highset number of cyber attacks last year and is warning businesses and consumers to be vigilant as global cybercrime becomes more sophisticated.
Dimension Data, which specialises in information technology services, released its 2016 Global Threat Intelligence Report, ahead of the first Government Cyber Security Summit on Thursday.
The annual report, which looks at latest security threats and offers recommendations for how to stay protected, aggregates data from more than 3.5 trillion logs, 6.2 billion attacks and 8000 clients worldwide.
It shows the retail sector had the highest number of attacks, trial-and-error methods used to obtain passwords and PIN numbers jumped 135 per cent and internal attacks from contractors and employees were on the rise.
Dimension Data New Zealand chief executive Jo Healey said the retail sector experienced nearly three times as many attacks as those in the finance sector.
It was an interesting development that cyber criminals were turning their attention away from the finance sector, possibly in search of easier or more lucrative targets, she said.
"Retail companies are becoming increasingly popular targets as they often process large volumes of personal information, including credit card data. This is something both retail businesses, and consumers need to be aware of, and vigilant to."
"Cyber Criminals are always on the lookout for the weakest link and weak passwords remain an easy target for hackers to break into systems. At its core, cyber security is no different to real world security, criminals will always take the path of least resistance. Ensuring you are properly protected virtually, is no different to securing your home," she said.
Organisations also needed to remain vigilant against internal attacks from contractors and employees, which had increased by 19 per cent, she said.
The annual report found phishing attacks increased and there was a lack of focus on bolstering end-point security and a lack of user awareness within most organisations, which Healey said was concerning.
"These types of attacks are typically targeted at individual users within organisations, with the objective to acquire information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, and indirectly, money, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication such as an email."
One of the simplest ways to to safeguard assets was ensuring business digital infrastructure was well protected and up-to-date, she said.
New Zealand businesses were counting the costs and realising the stakes were too high to not start taking a proactive approach but also recognised there was still work to be done.
Strong cyber security practices would enable businesses to be productive, profitable, trusted and would benefit all New Zealanders, she said.
"The New Zealand economy is made up of a high proportion of SME's and while it's easy to think cyber criminals are only targeting large companies, SME's have assets too and IP that can be targets of threat. It depends on the business risk. Many do not employ advanced threat protection and these days you are one click away from being compromised," Healey said.
Healey who will speaking at the the summit, said the Government had a role to play in cyber security - but not on it's own - there must be strong partnerships between Government, private sector and non-government organisations, she said.
Thursday's' summit on Keeping New Zealand's Economy Cyber Secure, hosted by Communications Minister Amy Adams, will bring together international experts, as well as New Zealand's top board chairs and chief executives, to discuss how to tackle the threat of cybercrime and improve New Zealand's resilience and security.
Adams said in a summit agenda that since the launch of the refreshed Cyber Security Strategy in December, the business community's level of awareness of, and interest in, cyber threats had continued to grow and was a key issue for business.