The Odds are Not in Your Favor…

Wed, 27 Nov 2013 – Kevin Wilson, Director of Public Relations

This past weekend, the second movie in The Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire, was released around the world. The popular story about an annual battle to the death involving 12-18 year-olds surpassed more than $160 million at the U.S. box office and $283 million internationally. The “Tributes”, or young people participating in the battle, are chosen by a lottery and must fight in a government-controlled environment until one person remains. One of the key lines used frequently in the film by those controlling The Hunger Games is “May the odds be ever in your favor.” The irony in the line, of course, is that the likelihood of actually surviving the contest are slim.
Like the odds of a kid winning The Hunger Games, the odds of consumers and companies avoiding cyberattacks are not in their favor.  A study published by Javelin Strategy & Research, “Data at Rest Is Data at Risk: Confronting a Singular Threat to Three Major U.S. Industries,” indicated the following:

  • 4.4 million Americans were both notified that their payment card information was compromised in a data breach and suffered fraud on their existing credit or debit cards.
  • 1.26 million Americans were both notified that their Social Security numbers (SSNs) were compromised in a data breach and became victims of identity fraud.
  • 270,000 Americans were both notified that their online banking credentials were compromised in a data breach and suffered fraud on their financial accounts, including checking and savings accounts.
  • 324,000 Americans were both notified that their bank account numbers were compromised in a data breach and became victims of fraud incurred against their checking, savings, or other financial accounts.

The variety of today’s threats to personal and corporate data is unprecedented.  Authentication credentials, web session tokens, account numbers, account balances and other information that moves through the web channel, is presented in the web browser and stored on disk during and between web sessions are constantly at risk. The threats to this information are coming at a faster pace, and in many cases can be difficult to detect, let alone stop. The Ponemon Institute stated in its 2013 State of the Endpoint report that 58 percent of organizations have more than 25 malware attempts or incidents each month. Another 20 percent aren’t really sure how many times they have been targeted[i]. Another study by Ponemon and Sophos, found that 33 percent of respondents at small and midsized companies aren’t even sure how to describe an APT attack.[ii]  
The message is clear; no one is safe, and unfortunately, the tools used by the majority of organizations to prevent advanced threats are simply not good enough. Only 12 percent of IT security practitioners surveyed by Ponemon said that current anti-virus/anti-malware technology is very effective at protecting IT endpoints from today’s threats.[iii]  Like the threats, the approach to fighting malware has to evolve, and additional layers of security are needed. Organizations can’t continue to rely on the same security solutions and expect different results. It’s time to approach endpoint security differently. Otherwise, the odds of preventing problems caused by advanced threats will never be in your favor.

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