Published On: Thu, Aug 7th, 2014

Global Survey: Snowden Affair Seriously Harmed Corporate Security

Edward Snowden

Sixty eight percent of businesses stated that the NSA breach by Edward Snowden and the number of retail/point of sale (PoS) system breaches in the past year carried the most harmful impact in terms of changing security strategies to protect against the latest threats.

The findings are part of CyberArk’s 8th Annual Global Advanced Threat Landscape survey – developed through interviews with 373 C-level and IT security executives across North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

The majority of organizations surveyed believe that attacks reaching the privileged account takeover stage are the most difficult to detect, respond to and remedy. While the NSA breach is widely regarded as the prototypical insider-based attack, and the retail/PoS breaches are regarded similarly for outside attacks, the critical link between both attacks was the compromise and exploitation of privileged credentials.

“Loss of IP and competitive advantage, diminishing brand value, loss of customers and negative shareholder impact are just a few of the business impacts many organizations felt as a result of cyber-attacks this year, ” said Adam Bosnian, executive vice president, CyberArk. “This year’s survey results demonstrate that whether it’s an insider like Edward Snowden, or an outside-based attack like the retail/PoS breaches, attackers require the exploitation of insider credentials to successfully execute their attacks.”

Here are key findings of the 2014 survey:

When asked which cyber-attacks or data breaches in the past year had the biggest impact on their business’ security strategy:

37 percent of respondents cited the NSA/Edward Snowden breach
31 percent of respondents cited the retail/PoS attacks
19 percent of respondents cited government-sponsored espionage
As companies move to the cloud and streamline the supply chain by providing routine network access to third-parties, cyber-attackers are increasingly targeting these partners to steal and exploit their privileged access to the target company’s network. This pathway was used in some of the most devastating breaches in the last 12 months. The survey found:

60 percent of businesses now allow third-party vendors remote access to their internal networks
Of this group, 58 percent of organizations have no confidence that third-party vendors are securing and monitoring privileged access to their network
Attackers are on the Inside – Protect Your Privileges
Organizations continue to face sophisticated and determined attackers seeking to infiltrate networks. Many organizations face daily perimeter-oriented attacks, such as phishing, designed to give attackers a foothold to steal the privileged credentials of an employee to give them defacto insider status. The survey found:
52 percent of respondents believe that a cyber-attacker is currently on their network, or has been in the past year
44 percent believe that attacks that reach the privileged account takeover stage are the most difficult to detect, respond to and remediate; 29 percent believe it is the malware implantation stage

Survey respondents stated that the following trends were the most impactful in terms of shaping and changing security strategies:

30 percent stated Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
26 percent stated cloud computing
21 percent stated regulatory compliance
6 percent stated the Internet of Things (IoT)

When asked whether their organization had or was considering deploying security analytics, this year’s survey found that:

31 percent of businesses have already deployed security analytics in some form
23 percent were planning on deploying security analytics in the next 12 months
33 percent had no plans to leverage security analytics

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