UK public sector faces biggest malware threat

UK public sector bodies face more malware attacks than any other sector, according to new research.

Supplier NTT Com Security’s 2015 Global Threat Intelligence Report found that national and local government bodies faced nearly 40% of the attacks during the past year.

This was three times more than the next sector, insurance, which faced 13% of attacks.

Stuart Reed, senior director of global product marketing at the firm, said: “The fact that public sector figures are so high compared to other sectors in the UK is due largely to the value of the data that many of these organisations have, which makes them attractive and highly prized targets for malware attacks.

“While the level of threat may vary from organisation to organisation, they all have information that would be of interest to cyber criminals.”

He also told PublicTechnology that spending cuts due to austerity could have led to a reduction in security expertise in some organisations.

He also warned that many councils are not adequately protected, with 76% of vulnerabilities identified more than two years old, and almost 9% of more than 10 years old.

He said: “Doing the basics is so important, and many are not even doing that at the moment.”

Network segmentation, proper patching and configuration, along with active threat management were other moves which could make a difference, he said.

“The other piece is to have a defined instant response plan in place. Don’t wait until a problem happens,” he said. 74% of organisations had no incident response plan in place in 2014, according to the research.

Globally, finance was the most targeted sector by cyber criminals, suffering 18% of all detected attacks.

The research was based on analysis of around 6bn worldwide attacks registered by companies within the NTT Group.

Colin Marrs

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