NTT Security report shows that China is the top source of attacks

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The UK’s manufacturing and technology sectors remain the most targeted industry sectors by cyber attackers, according to the 2019 Global Threat Intelligence Report (GTIR) from NTT Security, the specialised security company.

According to the report, while manufacturing took top billing in the 2018 GTIR, with almost half (46 per cent) of all cyber attacks in the UK, this year’s report shows a significant fall to second place with a fifth (20 per cent) of attacks. The tech sector, however, which attracted less than a quarter (23 per cent) last year, jumps to top spot with 47 per cent of attacks in the UK.

Finance, which earlier this month was revealed to be the most attacked sector in EMEA, accounting for 30% of all attacks, takes third place for the UK, with 13 per cent of attacks, falling some way short of the global figure of 17 per cent. Business and professional services and healthcare take fourth and fifth place with 4 per cent and 3 per cent respectively.

The annual GTIR is the result of NTT Security summarising data from trillions of logs and millions of attacks, and analysing threat trends based on log, event, attack, incident and vulnerability data from NTT Group operating companies. In the latest report, NTT Security analyses of attacks against 18 industry sectors.

Commenting David Gray, Senior Manager – Cyber Security Consulting, NTT Security, said: “While manufacturing may have dropped down a position, the fact that it is still attracting a fifth of all attacks against UK organisations is a major concern. The critical national infrastructure sectors tend to grab the headlines, such as the attacks on the Ukrainian national grid in 2016, or the Wannacry attack on the NHS in 2017. However, the recent attacks on Norsk Hydro demonstrate the impact that cyber attacks can have on other sectors, such as manufacturing, and highlight the importance of effective incident response.”

Gray added: “The lines between traditional and digital manufacturing are blurring, where high value manufacturing and advanced technologies are key for global competitiveness and there is greater convergence of IT with Operational Technology (OT), which brings with it greater complexity and risk. The problem is that OT has traditionally been something of a ‘dark art’ for IT and security teams who lack the knowledge and skills to effectively map their OT risk landscape and implement practical plans and processes.”

NTT Security advised manufacturing organisations to focus on four key areas when it comes to cybersecurity:

1. Get the basics right: without the right fundamentals in place, attacks do not need to be advanced to succeed. People are often a manufacturer’s greatest threat, so invest in staff awareness and training, and highlight the importance of collective responsibility.

2. Take an intelligence-driven approach to security. IT and security should avoid working in silos and having a ’not in my backyard' mentality by developing robust holistic processes and procedures.

3. Develop threat intelligence capabilities. There is no such thing as an isolated incident and there is a need to manage the whole incident by developing threat intelligence – pervasive visibility is essential.

4. Manufacturers are still failing to prepare. There is still an element of ‘head in the sand’, where they do not think it is going to happen to them. Having effective incident response capabilities that are tested regularly is key and enables organisations to respond quickly in order to mitigate the threat and identify the cause.

The report found that once again China is the number one source of attacks by country against UK organisations (20 per cent) followed by the US (16 per cent) and France (10 per cent).

Apart from Sweden, the UK is the only country to see most attacks coming from China.

Across EMEA, China is second (13 per cent) just behind the US (16 per cent) while at a global level again the US is top attack source on 22 per cent followed by China on 13 per cent.