One-in-five organisations have had their systems taken down for an entire working day
Disruptive cyber-attacks are becoming more effective at breaching security defences, causing major disruption and even bringing down systems for whole working days, according to a new global study from BT.
The research reveals that 41 per cent of organisations globally were hit by Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks over the past year, with more than three quarters of those (78 per cent) targeted twice or more in the year.
DDoS attacks are seen as a key concern by more than a third of UK organisations (36 per cent). Globally the worry is even greater, with almost twice as many organisations naming the attacks a key concern (58 per cent).
The new study explores the attitudes to and preparedness for DDoS attacks of IT managers from organisations in eleven countries and regions around the world. It reveals that despite the growing concern over the attacks, only about half of UK organisations (49 per cent) have a response plan in place. Less than one in 10 UK decision makers (eight per cent) strongly believe they have sufficient resources in place to counteract an attack.
DDoS attacks can cause major disruption for organisations; they can take down an organisation’s website, overwhelm a datacentre or generally cause networks to grind to a halt and become unusable. They are also increasingly becoming more complex and difficult for organisations to fend off.
Nearly two thirds (59 per cent) of those polled agree that DDoS attacks are becoming more effective at subverting their organisation’s IT security measures. Attackers are often adopting hybrid, or multi-vector, attack tactics which involve attacks through multiple platforms. These have increased by two fifths (41 per cent) during the past year.
Multi-vector attacks pose increased complexity and risk as they involve multiple attack methods deployed simultaneously. These often require a dedicated mitigation team to track and combat the threat across multiple fronts, as automated systems are less likely to be able to offer adequate protection.
Mark Hughes, president of BT Security, said: “DDoS attacks have evolved significantly in the last few years and are now a legitimate business concern. They can have a damaging effect on revenues and send an organisation into full crisis mode. Reputations, revenue and customer confidence are on the line following a DDoS attack, not to mention the upfront time and cost that it takes an organisation to recover following an attack. Finance, e-commerce companies and retailers in particular suffer when their websites or businesses are targeted.”
“Organisations need a higher level security solution to protect not only the network infrastructure but the devices that initially provide protection.”
Unsurprisingly, organisations see an increase in customer complaints when their network systems go down after a DDoS attack. Respondents said customer complaints and queries jumped by an average of 36 per cent.
The impact that DDoS attacks can have on organisations is felt in the length of time it takes them to recover from their most severe attack. On average, organisations take 12 hours to fully recover from an especially powerful attack – longer than an entire working day. In the UK, more than half of IT decision makers (58 per cent) admit that DDoS attacks have brought down their systems for more than six hours – almost a full working day.
Mark Hughes added: “The most efficient way to protect against the attack is raising awareness among employees and partnering with a trusted and capable supplier. At BT, we are working with leading global organisations to help them mitigate risks and put in place proactive defences. It is only when security is optimised that organisations are able to harness the possibilities of today’s connected world.”
For further information:
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Notes to editors:
About the research
This research was undertaken by Vanson Bourne for BT in May 2014. 640 interviews were carried out with IT decision makers in medium to large sized organisations (1000+ employees) across eleven countries and regions – UK, France, Germany, US, Spain, Brazil, Middle East, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa and Australia – and in a range of sectors including finance, retail and public sector.
BT Security is building on 70 years’ experience of helping organisations around the globe and across all sectors get ahead of the threat curve and reduce the uncertainty and complexity of security. We provide an end-to-end capability to help organisations enjoy higher levels of security at a time when security budgets are not keeping pace with the threat landscape.
The sophistication of our security operations means that we think about the assets, the people, and the processes, and combine these with both network and security intelligence to help our customers stay ahead of the security risks. BT Security protects both BT and its customers. These customers are advised by a global team of 1,300 security practitioners, 600 global security specialists and a professional services team of approximately 4,000.
The BT Security Assure portfolio covers:
• Assure Managed Firewall
• Assure Web Security
• Assure Intrusion Prevention
• Assure Message Scan
• Assure Denial of Service Mitigation
• Assure Cyber
• Assure Managed Cloud
• Assure Threat Monitoring
• Assure Vulnerability Scanning
To find out more about BT Security, visit www.bt.com/btassure/securitythatmatters.