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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Global cybersecurity trends a mixed bag

New data from Trustwave Holdings Inc. forensics investigations indicates that despite efforts to increase POS data security following the U.S. EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) mandate in 2015, adoption has been slow, and payment card data remained a target in 63 percent of the data incidents perpetrated globally in 2016. As of November 2016, only 38 percent of U.S. transactions used EMV technologies, Trustwave noted.

According to the 92-page 2017 Trustwave Global Security Report, the North American region and the retail sector accounted for 49 percent and 22 percent of total breaches, respectively. Next in line regionally were Asia-Pacific (21 percent); Africa, Europe and Middle East (20 percent); and Latin America (10 percent). Just behind the retail sector, the food and beverage industry was targeted in nearly 20 percent of data breaches committed globally.

Consistent with past Trustwave reports, corporate and internal networks persisted as the environments most breached in 2016, at 43 percent. POS systems were targeted in 31 percent of incidents, up from 22 percent in 2015, with card track data exposed in 33 percent of such incidents. Ecommerce transactions accounted for 22 percent of breaches, down from 38 percent, while card-not-present data was targeted in 30 percent of cases.

Trustwave determined that progress has been made in breach detection and containment; detection time dropped from 80.5 days to 49 days year-over-year. The time from detection to containment dropped from 13 days to 2.5 days. However, median time from cyber intrusion to containment remained stable at 62 days versus 63 days in 2015.

Exploits evolve

Malicious advertising remained the top source of traffic to exploit kit landing pages, Trustwave found. An exploit kit is software designed to locate system vulnerabilities. Trustwave forensics discovered an alleged undisclosed Windows zero-day vulnerability and exploit code for sale in 2016 at an initial price of $95,000; a zero-day vulnerability is a hole in software code undetected by the vendor.

"As our data breach investigations and threat intelligence show, attackers continue to evolve their tactics and focus on extreme paydays as cybercrime becomes more like genuine businesses," said Robert J. McCullen, President and Chief Executive Officer at Trustwave. "Meanwhile security skills and talent remain scarce."

Also trending: 83 percent of malware samples Trustwave examined in 2016 used obfuscation, and 36 percent used encryption to hide attacks. Spam messages containing malware jumped from 3 percent in 2015 to 35 percent in 2016. As a whole, 99.7 percent of the web applications Trustwave tested in 2016 contained at least one data security vulnerability, with 11 vulnerabilities per application being the mean.

"As an industry, we must continue to focus on key areas like threat detection and response, security scanning and testing and cloud security services that provide meaningful layers of protection from constantly evolving threats," McCullen said.

end of article

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