Cisco Report Highlights Enhanced Risk from Spammers Across the Americas

The aviation industry in the Americas appears to be highly vulnerable to cyber attacks, while only a small number of IT and telecom companies are exposed to spammers, according …

The aviation industry in the Americas appears to be highly vulnerable to cyber attacks, while only a small number of IT and telecom companies are exposed to spammers, according to Cisco’s latest study on online security.

Spammers are becoming increasingly incessant and determined, and are willing to spend months on end to infect the computers of their targeted victims. Even IT teams assigned to protect computer terminals in organizations are themselves proving to be part of the security problem, having been trapped by cyber criminals.

Across the Americas, spammers are injecting viruses through malicious scripts, with outdated software and browser ad-ons also aiding criminals to infect computers.

Snowshoe spam, which involves sending low volumes of spam from a large set of IP addresses to avoid detection, is an emerging threat, the report noted.

Users’ careless behavior when browsing the Internet, combined with targeted campaigns by adversaries, places many industry verticals at higher risk of malware exposure. Spam volume increased 250% from January 2014 to November 2014.

Fifty-nine percent of chief information security officers (CISOs) surveyed by Cisco appeared to believe that their security measures are strong, while about 75% of them saw their security tools as extremely effective, with about one-quarter perceiving security tools as only somewhat effective.

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The study found out that less than 50% of respondents use standard tools such as patching and configuration to help prevent security breaches, while larger and midsize organizations have put in place sophisticated security measure to protect from malicious actors.

Yet adversaries continue to steal information, make money through scams, or disrupt networks for political goals.

“In the end, security is a numbers game: Even if an organization blocks 99.99 percent of billions of spam messages, some will make it through. There is no way to ensure 100 percent effectiveness,” the report added.

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