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NSA, retail breaches influenced corporate security strategies the most, study finds

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 were the most impactful 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 remediate. 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.

When asked which cyber-attacks or data breaches in the past year had the biggest impact on their business’ security strategy, the study found 37 percent of respondents cited the NSA/Edward Snowden breach, 31 percent of respondents cited the retail/PoS attacks, and 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.

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 and 44 percent believe that attacks that reach the privileged account takeover stage are the most difficult to detect, respond to and remediate.

“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."

CyberArk is a security company focused on eliminating the most advanced cyber threats; those that use insider privileges to attack the heart of the enterprise. Dedicated to stopping attacks before they stop business, CyberArk proactively secures against cyber threats before attacks can escalate and do irreparable damage.

 

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