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Survey: Security Threat Increase Predicted

The sophistication of attackers is outstripping chief information security officers' (CISOs) ability to fend them off and the number of threats has increased markedly.

This comes from IBM's third annual CISO study, which found that 59 percent of CISOs who participated are concerned about their inability to keep pace with 40 percent and say it's their top security challenge.

Moreover, 83 percent said external threats have increased over the past three years with 42 percent of them saying the increases were dramatic. IBM revealed results of its study at a gathering of CISOs held at its New York offices.

The survey also found CISOs have also found themselves more frequently questioned by the C-suite and corporate boards, while changes to the global regulatory landscape promise to further complicate efforts to step threats, where the vast majority are derived. Kristin Lovejoy, IBM's general manager of security services, said malware creation is a big business in unregulated countries, which are the origin of most attacks.

"Where we say we're worried about external attackers and we're worried about financial crime data theft, there's a correlation between people getting Internet access in unregulated, unlegislated countries where it's an economic means of getting out," Lovejoy said. "When you interview the criminals, they don't even know they're performing a crime -- they're just building code. We have to be careful here, this external attacker thing, it's not going to get any better, it's going to get worse."

Most are able to exploit the naivety of employees, she added, noting 80 to 90 percent of all security incidents were because of human error. "They're getting in because users are pretty dumb," she said. "They click on stuff all the time. It's going to continue." She added organizations that are most secure are those that have good IT hygiene, automation, configuration management, asset management, especially those that implement ITIL practices.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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