Symantec Report Keeps Cloud Users Security-Savvy
Users of cloud services can easily fall foul of complacency. With all personal data held on cloud servers, there is a strong temptation to worry less about threats to our device. But for as long as we use devices for authentication and access to our cloud accounts, a threat to a device means a threat to our cloud-stored data. This is why each time Symantec releases a new intelligence report, the wiser cloud users take notice.
This white paper presents an essential overview of web-born dangers aimed at everyone from IT security personnel down to everyday computer users. With so much of the threat landscape still based on human deception and manipulation, knowledge remains the single most effective form of protection. The Symantec intelligence report puts in one place all the things we need to know to stay safe from attack.
The latest publication, containing digested data up to September 2013, addresses a wide scope of security threats: Targeted Attacks, Social Media and Data Breaches, Mobile Threats, Software-based Vulnerabilities, Spam, Phishing and Malware.
One worrying new horizon that has emerged is that after a low-threat August, September saw a 20% resurgence in new security vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals were not being beaten back, it would seem: they were simply on holiday.
The given statistics for mobile-based attacks were even more troubling – a steady rise of malware variants is evident in the last twelve months (now numbering over 7,000), with a 55% jump in new variants from July to September. In short, it has never been more important to access cloud data from a carefully-secured mobile device.
The threats are not at all limited to the public domain. Businesses and those representing them face targeted hacking attacks that shift focus with alarming speed. No longer is it small manufacturing companies that are the primary target of Intellectual Property cyberthieves: companies with fewer than 250 employees do still attract 48% of all new attacks on organizations, but it is now the service sector which is the most under-threat industry. Companies delivering professional services now account for 22.2% of all attacks, with public administration organisations drawing in 19.2% of the fire.
What specific lessons can cloud users take from the report? Symantec’s motivation for the publication is to raise awareness of the scale and form of threats occurring and to encourage protection by relating how today’s attacks are carried out. By staying abreast of the security exploits laid out in the report, and heeding the given predictions, users of cloud services can make educated choices about the devices, applications and security precautions they employ when interacting with their cloud accounts. Judging by the high proportion of attacks that small firms are gathering, another lesson might be to trust the large cloud providers sooner than the small.
By Gill-Chris Welles
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