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Survey: 90% of Security Incidents Went Unreported Last Year

Storm only affected 14 percent of organizations last year, according to a newly released survey of RSA Conference attendees

So much for breach disclosure: Only 11 percent of security incidents were reported by affected organizations last year, according to a newly released survey of RSA Conference attendees. And apparently the Storm botnet wasn’t much of a factor, hitting only 14 percent of respondents' organizations.

Around 54 percent said they had experienced a security incident in their organizations in 2007, but 89 percent did not publicly disclose these attacks. Most of the attacks came from email-borne malware or phishing, which accounted for 69 percent of the attacks the organizations suffered last year. Web-borne malware caused 44 percent. Other common types of incidents: data leakage of customer or employee data (29 percent), insider threats/theft (28 percent), and intellectual property theft (16 percent).

“With 29% of respondents stating that they experienced the leakage of employee or customer data in 2007, it is alarming to see that only 11% of those types of incidents went reported. Security professionals need to remain cognizant of the regulations that their organizations must comply with and ensure they are taking steps to properly report the security incidents that are required by law, whatever they may be,” said Tim Mather, chief security strategist for RSA Conference in a blog post on the survey results.

Around 13 percent said they had responded to more than 20 security incidents last year, 19 percent had one to two incidents, and 14 percent, three to five.

Interestingly, only 2 percent suffered any serious damage from Storm Trojan attacks last year, and 12 percent said they were “somewhat” affected but were able to contain its spread.

Looking ahead, the respondents said their top security challenges in the next 12 months are lost/stolen devices (49 percent), non-malicious employee error (47 percent), employee education (47 percent), budgetary constraints (44 percent), external penetration/hackers (38 percent), executive buy-in (26 percent), and malicious employee action (22 percent).

They consider data leakage their biggest security threat in the next twelve months -- 49 percent cited it. Next in line were email-borne malware/phishing (41 percent), Web-borne malware (36 percent), insider threats/theft (36 percent), intellectual property theft (34 percent), known software vulnerabilities (24 percent), hacking by organized crime for commercial gain (22 percent), and zero-day attacks (20 percent).

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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