The Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report reveals that threats designed to take advantage of users’ trust in systems, applications and personal networks have reached startling levels.
According to the report, a worldwide shortage of nearly a million skilled security professionals is impacting organizations’ abilities to monitor and secure networks, while overall vulnerabilities and threats reached their highest levels since 2000.
The report reveals an increased sophistication and proliferation of the threat landscape. Simple attacks that caused containable damage have given way to organized cybercrime operations that are sophisticated, well-funded, and capable of significant economic and reputational damage to public and private sector victims.
In addition, there is an increased complexity of threats and solutions due to rapid growth in intelligent mobile device adoption and cloud computing that provide a greater attack surface than ever before. New classes of devices and new infrastructure architectures offer attackers opportunities to exploit unanticipated weaknesses and inadequately defended assets.
The report also reveals that cybercriminals have learned that harnessing the power of Internet infrastructure yields far more benefits than simply gaining access to individual computers or devices. These infrastructure-scale attacks seek to gain access to strategically positioned web hosting servers, nameservers and data centers—with the goal of proliferating attacks across legions of individual assets served by these resources. By targeting Internet infrastructure, attackers undermine trust in everything connected to or enabled by it.
Other report findings include:
Overall vulnerabilities and threatsreached the highest level since initial tracking began in May 2000. As of Oct. 2013, cumulative annual alert totals increased 14 percent year-over-year from 2012.