Businesses ill-prepared to defend against dramatic rise in zero day attacks

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Businesses have been diligently working to defend against attacks and exploits for years. The problem is that much of the conventional wisdom about security is reactive and most of the security tools available are only effective against known threats. The rise over the last year or so in targeted zero day attacks has left many organizations feeling defenseless and concerned.

Zero day exploits always make for sensational headlines when they’re discovered and revealed. The thing is only white hat security researchers reveal the exploit details. The bad guys just file the information away because it is an immeasurably valuable tool when mounting an attack. Check Point recently issued its 2015 Security Report, which explores the impact of zero day attacks on organizations among other things.

Check Point compiled the report based on collaborative research and in-depth analysis of over 300,000 hours of monitored network traffic, from more than 16,000 Threat Prevention gateways and 1 million smartphones.

“Today’s cybercriminals are sophisticated and ruthless: they prey on the weaknesses in a network, approaching any security layer as an open invitation to try to hack it,” explained Amnon Bar-Lev, president of Check Point Software Technologies. “In order to protect themselves against attacks, security professionals and organizations alike must understand the nature of the latest exploits and how their networks are potentially impacted.”

Check Point discovered that organizations are hit by 106 unknown malware attacks per hour. That is an astonishing 48 times more than the rate in 2013. Many of these unknown threats are built using zero day exploits that target vulnerabilities the software vendor isn’t even aware of.

Check Point also found that cyber criminals continue to rely heavily on bots to accelerate the spread of malware. The 2015 Security Report states, “83 percent of organizations studied were infected with bots in 2014, allowing constant communication and data sharing between these bots and their command and control servers.”

The 2015 Security Report contains a variety of other valuable insights. For example, Check Point determined that mobile devices represent the biggest weakness for most organizations—a trend that is likely to continue as mobile devices become more powerful and more prevalent.

Bar-Lev summed up, “Only by arming themselves with a combination of knowledge and strong security solutions can organizations truly protect themselves against these evolving threats. By making that security a critical asset to your business, you can turn security into an enabler. And in doing so, you’re able to unlock innovation and foster an environment for high performance and productivity.”

Take a look at the Check Point 2015 Security Report to learn more and increase your awareness of the threats that impact you most.

This story, "Businesses ill-prepared to defend against dramatic rise in zero day attacks" was originally published by CSO.

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