Cybercrime: Telecoms, e-Commerce among most vulnerable sectors | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Business, IT & Telecomms

Cybercrime: Telecoms, e-Commerce among most vulnerable sectors

Posted: Apr 14, 2015 at 5:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Emmanuel Okwuke / Senior  IT. Correspondent 


There have been reports of sophisticated persistent threats to organisations that depend on digital technology to drive their activities in the 21st Century. This is according to Georgia Tech Information Security Centre (GTISC), Emerging Cyber Threats Report 2015.

The report notes that cybercriminals continue to abuse the trust of users, while the Internet of Things (IoT) poses problems for the current systems of trust between machines.

Meanwhile, Kaspersky Lab Report 2014 released in February 2015 shows that financial phishing attacks, including phishing against banks, payment systems and e-shops accounted for 28.73 per cent of all phishing attacks detected during the year under review.

Consequently, in today’s business world, companies must deploy a cyber-defense that is secure, vigilant, and resilient, according to a report released recently by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (Deloitte Global).

In the report, seven industries including online media, high technology, telecommunications, e-commerce, insurance, manufacturing, and retail, were identified as the most vulnerable to cyber traitors.

The report, titled: ‘Global Cyber Executive Briefing’, finds that virtually all organisations will be attacked so company executives must understand their biggest threats and which assets, typically those at the heart of their business’s mission, are at the greatest risk.

In the study, Deloitte outlined potential for attacks, reasons and possible scenarios, and potential impact to business.

Speaking on the study, Cyber Risk Services Leader, Deloitte Global, Ted DeZabala, said: “People think cyber-attacks are confined to specific sectors. In reality though, any organisation that has valuable data is at risk”.

According to the report, being secure starts with tackling weaknesses in applications and reinforcing the digital infrastructure. Organisations that are vigilant should subsequently be alert and identify any attacks as early as possible. Being resilient involves early-stage identification of the direction of a threat, the reason for such threat and how it will manifest itself. Rapidly detecting an attack can spur an organisation into action so it isolates and removes the threat.

Deloitte in the report highlighted threats by sector thus, high Tech: Consistently a target for attacks with the biggest threats being loss of intellectual property (IP) and hacktivism. Threats are also used as a stepping stone to attack and infect others.


Vulnerable sectors

Sectors facing increased, sophisticated attacks include Government agencies. Cyber criminals do this by using Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) to establish covert surveillance for long periods of time. Also, another critical threat unique to the telecommunications sector is the attack of leased infrastructure equipment, such as home routers from Internet Service Providers (ISPs).


Online Media vulnerability

Has the greatest exposure to cyber-threats with ones that cause reputational damage topping the list. Threats are also used as a stepping stone to attack and infect others.


E-Commerce data breaches 

As far as e-Commerce database breach is concerned, loss of customer data, including names, physical addresses, phone and online payment systems are vulnerable areas often attacked.

Denial-of-Service Attacks (DSA) also top the list, particularly by hacktivists that want to disrupt an organisation in a highly visible way.


Insurance industry

The sector typically has a lot of sensitive data to protect. Cyber-attacks are growing exponentially as insurance companies migrate toward digital channels with sophisticated attacks combing advanced malware with other techniques such as social engineering. While current attacks appear short-term, the report predicts the number of long-term attacks may be silently growing.


Manufacturing sector

There is increasing amount of attacks by hackers and cyber-criminals in the manufacturing sector as well as corporate espionage. Types of cyber-attacks in manufacturing vary widely from Phishing to Advanced Malware, targeting not only IT but also connected Industrial Control Systems.


Retail sector 

Credit card data is the new currency for hackers and criminals. Insider threats in the  retail sector are is increasing, giving rise to a new breed of criminals that focus on stealing information — especially the valuable cardholder data that flows between consumers and retailers.

Consequently, DeZabala warned that not a single sector is immune to cyber attacks. “Knowing the value of your data, the potential attacker, their resources and motivation, are some of the first steps in making business decisions about adequate protection”.