Cyber-attacks fall by half in 2014, but impact rises


Cyber-attacks against retailers fell by half in the last year as hackers became increasingly adept at boosting the damage of each attack, according to IBM Security.

Data released by Privacy Rights Clearinghouse indicates that the number of records compromised in cyber-attacks has rocketed since 2012, once one has accounted for anomalous "mega breaches" such as that against Target in which 70 million records were stolen.

Kris Lovejoy, general manager of IBM Security Services, said: "The threat from organised cybercrime rings remains the largest security challenge for retailers."

"It is imperative that security leaders and CISOs in particular use their growing influence to ensure they have the right people, processes and technology in place to take on these growing threats."

Cyber-attacks on all industries even fell during the two weeks around Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year, numbering just over 3,000 a day between November 24 to December 5, compared to 4,200 for the equivalent period in 2013.

Successful breaches from the attacks over the two weeks also dropped from 20 to 10 between 2013 and 2014, with the number of compromised records falling from 4 million to a mere 72,000 – in part due to the lack of any major breaches.

IBM Security added that the majority of hacks against the retail sector involved command or SQL injection, rather than the point-of-sales (PoS) attacks which have been responsible for the mega breaches heavily covered in the press.

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