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Vulnerabilities / Threats

CSI Annual Report: Financial Fraud, Malware On The Increase

Security pros generally happy with products; not so much with awareness programs

Malware and financial fraud were among the chief "growth threats" posed to businesses in 2009, according to a new study from the Computer Security Institute that will be published next week.

CSI's 14th annual security survey, which will be distributed in conjunction with a free Dec. 1 Webcast, covers a wide range of issues related to security management, including current threats, data loss statistics, and trends in technology usage.

Respondents reported big jumps in the incidence of financial fraud (19.5 percent, over 12 percent last year); malware infection (64.3 percent, over 50 percent last year); denials of service (29.2 percent, over 21 percent last year), password sniffing (17.3 percent, over 9 percent last year); and Web site defacement (13.5 percent, over 6 percent last year).

The survey showed significant dips in wireless exploits (7.6 percent, down from 14 percent in 2008), and instant messaging abuse (7.6 percent, down from 21 percent).

"The financial fraud was a major concern because the cost of those incidents is so high," says Sara Peters, senior editor at CSI and author of this year's report. Financial fraud costs enterprises approximately $450,000 per incident, according to the study.

While financial fraud costs rose in 2009, average losses due to security incidents of all types are down this year -- from $289,000 per respondent to $234,244 per respondent, CSI says. Those numbers are still higher than 2005 and 2006 figures.

Twenty-five percent of respondents stated the majority of their financial losses in the past year were due to nonmalicious actions by insiders.

For the first time, CSI asked security professionals not only about the technologies they are using, but also about their satisfaction with those technologies. Interestingly, on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest satisfaction level, none of the security product categories received anything lower than a 3.0.

"What that says to us is that people are generally satisfied, if not overjoyed, with the performance of the products they're using," Peters says. "They're not blaming their problems on technology."

When asked which security technologies ranked highest on their wish lists, many respondents named tools that would improve their visibility -- better log management, security information and event management, security data visualization, security dashboards, and the like, CSI says.

Respondents also were generally satisfied with the amount of money their organizations have invested in their security programs, with one exception: security awareness training.

"In the past, when we saw low spending on security awareness programs, we assumed that it was because those programs simply don't cost that much to put together," Peters says. "But now we see that some security departments aren't getting the funding they need to put together the strength and quality of awareness programs that they would like."

To get a free copy of the report and register for the Webcast, click here.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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