The financial sector is set to remain a lucrative target for the financially motivated hacker, according to joint research from security management and monitoring service companies, Counterpane and MessageLabs.
Reporting on their analysis of key cyber attacks and trends for 2005, the companies studied trojans, spyware, e-mail viruses and targeted attacks across 15 industry sectors and discussed how these attacks affected organizations.
Among their key findings, the companies reported that just 40% of the financial services industry suffered the majority of the Trojan attacks. Based on these findings, this sector outranked its peer industries as the most exposed to probes and enumeration attempts, at nearly 30% of total targeted scan attacks worldwide.
Most worryingly, the report suggested that hackers were deploying more sophisticated methods to overcome the stronger security measures being employed by banks and financial institutions.
Alex Shipp, senior anti-virus technologist at MessageLabs, warned, Hackers are starting to deploy tactics that bypass stronger authentication schemes. The new Trojan programs do not have to trick victims out of revealing their password. Instead, they wait for the victim to perform their normal banking business. While the victim checks their bank balance, the Trojan silently siphons money out of the account.
The message to financial institutions and banks alike was far from reassuring, as the research suggested the problem was only set to get worse.
Bruce Schneier, founder of Counterpane, said, Today’s attackers are smarter and stealthier. They’re much more likely to install spyware; they’re more interested in making money. These attackers will continue to exploit enterprise networks for their own purposes, and it is essential that organizations keep their security vigilant to counter these threats.