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Report shows cyberattacks rampant; execs concerned
Written by Daniel   
Thursday, 28 January 2010 19:02

From C/Net News

Critical infrastructure networks around the world are subject to repeated cyberattacks from foreign governments and other high-level adversaries that can be damaging and costly, according to a report McAfee released Thursday.

Attacks that lead to down time can cost more than $6 million per day, and more than $8 million at oil and gas companies, the report, "In the Crossfire--Critical Infrastructure in the Age of Cyberwar," found.

Meanwhile, respondents said they worry about attacks on critical infrastructure in their countries coming from the U.S. and China more than any other potential aggressors.

For the report, which was commissioned by security firm McAfee and researched and written by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, 600 IT and security executives from critical infrastructure enterprises in 14 countries were surveyed last September. The survey was not designed to be a statistically valid opinion poll, but serves as a "rough measure of executive opinion, a snapshot of the views of a significant group of decision makers."

Attacks range from distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks designed to shut down systems and stealth network intrusions to extortion and theft of service, according to the survey. The most widely reported form of attack was infection with a virus or malware, which nearly 90 percent of respondents said their company experienced.

More than half of the executives surveyed said they had experienced large-scale DDOS attacks by organized crime, terrorists, or nation-state actors. The same proportion said their companies had been targeted with stealthy infiltration attacks, and nearly 60 percent said they believed foreign governments are behind attacks on critical infrastructure in their countries.

"There are absolutely foreign entities that would definitely conduct [cyber] reconnaissance of our power infrastructure," Michael Assante, chief security officer of the North American Electric Reliability Corp., is quoted as saying in the report. "They would be looking to learn, preposition themselves to get a foothold and try to maintain sustained access to computer networks."    [More...] [Comments...]



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