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Public Sector Target of Choice for Malware Attacks

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Public sector organisations are the top target for malware attacks in the UK, according to NTT Com Security’s latest Global Threat Intelligence Report.

The German-based information security and risk management company analysed more than six billion verified security attacks across 2014. 

Globally, finance was the most targeted sector, attracting 18% of all detected accounts. However, in the UK the public sector was the most vulnerable, hit by 40% of all malware attacks. That’s three times the attacks suffered by the insurance sector (13%) and five times more than the media and financial services (9%).

Stuart Reed, Senior Director of Global Product Marketing at NTT Com Security, said: “The fact that public sector figures are so high compared to other sectors in the UK is due largely to the value of the data that many of these organisations have, which makes them attractive and highly prized targets for malware attacks.

“While the level of threat may vary from organisation to organisation, they all have information that would be of interest to cybercriminals.”

Around the world, hackers are increasingly targeting business and professional services companies, which are seen as soft targets, but due to their close connections to much larger organisations, are rich beds of high-value information. 

Reed said: “It’s also interesting that we have seen some campaigns specifically targeting business & professional services. It’s possible that companies in this sector may not have the equivalent security resources and skills in-house that many other larger companies do, yet they potentially yield high value for attackers as both an end target and a gateway target to strategic partners.”

Attacks against these firms now account for 15% of global malware assaults, up from 9% the year before. In the UK, this sector attracts 6% of all malware attacks.

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