A survey found that 74 per cent of senior IT professionals were not confident their own network has not already been breached by state-sponsored hackers

IT industry 'losing battle' against state-backed attacks

More than half of senior IT security professionals believe the industry is losing the battle against state-sponsored attacks.

Nearly 200 senior IT security professionals were surveyed by Lieberman Software Corporation at the Black Hat USA 2013 conference in Las Vegas, with 58 per cent of saying they believe the profession is losing the battle against state-sponsored attacks.

And 74 per cent of respondents were not even confident that their own corporate network has not already been breached by a foreign state-sponsored hacker, while 96 per cent believe that the hacking landscape is going to get worse over time.

Amar Singh, ISACA Security Advisory Group London chair, said: “I would have imagined this figure to be higher than 58 per cent because most organisations will lose the battle if they end up on the target list of a state-sponsored attacker.

“The icing on the cake, from the malicious hacker’s perspective, will be when the world fully embraces IPV6, the next generation Internet protocol that will allow every single human being on this planet to own at least 2,000 fixed and permanent cyberspace addressees.

“Think about the attack surface when your TV, watch, wristband and car’s engine have a unique cyber space address and will be always connected to cyberspace!”

For Philip Lieberman, president and CEO of Lieberman Software, the main problem is the fact that state-sponsored attacks are both very difficult to stop and almost impossible to attribute to a specific country.

“As a citizen of one country being annoyed by another nation state, you have little recourse other than to bite your tongue, since any retribution or response is illegal. We cannot stop these attacks; we can only build taller and thicker walls to keep the hordes out,” he said.

“The threat of state-sponsored attacks is extremely serious for government and commercial entities. The probing of IT infrastructures in both environments is occurring 24/7, with attacks being launched on a regular basis.”

“The majority of organisations are prepared for amateur hackers and low-level criminals, but are completely ill-equipped to deal with today’s advanced nation-state foes.

“The most dangerous threats are highly personalised attacks designed for one-time use against specific individuals. Many state-sponsored attackers can now create perfect email attacks that insert remote control software onto corporate networks.

“Most corporations and government agencies would benefit from better security training, documented security processes, and enterprise-level products that can manage and secure powerful privileged accounts that grant access to critical IT assets.”

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