Check Point’s 2014 Security Report Shows Data Losses and Malware Rise in Financial Organisations

London - 8 May 2014

Check Point has issued its 2014 Security Report, its second annual report uncovering the major security events that occurred and impacted organisations across the world in 2013.  Of 150 major financial organisations worldwide, 88% had a data loss incident in 2013, up from 61% in 2012.  But despite the numerous high-profile credit card breaches that took place in 2013, Check Point’s research found that PCI data loss events in financial organisations slightly reduced to 33%, compared with 36% in 2012.

Across all organisations surveyed, key findings include:

Malware activity increased in speed and quantity

Malicious software was downloaded every ten minutes in 84% of the organisations under analysis.  Last year, 58% of organisations experienced users downloading malware every two hours or less, compared with just 14% in 2012.

‘Unknown’ malware grows

Smarter and more resilient malware emerged in 2013.  33% of organisations downloaded at least one infected file with unknown malware between June and December 2013.  Of those infected file types, 35% were PDFs.  New tools called ‘crypters’ enabled malware writers to bypass detection by anti-malware software, so that organisations were hit by 2 pieces of unknown malware every hour – one every 27 minutes.

Bot infestations

Bot infections continued to grow, with a host infected by a bot every 24 hours.  In 2013, at least one bot was detected in 73% of organisations, an increase from 63% in 2012. Organisations also struggled with containing bots, as 77% of bots are active for more than four weeks.  Bots communicated with their ‘Command & Control’ every three minutes.

Data losses mount

Check Point found that 88% of organisations had experienced at least one potential data loss event, up from 54% in 2012. In fact, in 33% of the financial institutions surveyed by Check Point, credit card information was sent outside of the organisation while 25% of healthcare and insurance institutions sent HIPAA-protected information.

Risky applications result in risky business

Use of high risk applications continued to be on the rise in 2013, with torrents, anonymisers, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing applications being used every nine minutes on an average day.  P2P file sharing usage increased to 75% in 2013 from 61% of firms in 2012.  Also, 56% of firms ran anonymizer proxy applications in 2013, up from 43% in 2012.

“Our 2014 Security Report peeled back more layers to reveal the infiltration and sophistication of malware in 2013.  We found organisations at more risk with both the new threats of today, as well as the old threats identified in last year’s Security Report,” said Amnon Bar-Lev, president of Check Point Software Technologies.  “It is clear that organisations need more understanding of, and protections for the threats that endanger their networks, with security based on real-time threat intelligence.”

The Check Point 2014 Security Report is based on collaborative research from Check Point Security Checkup assessments, Check Point Threat Emulation sensors, Check Point ThreatCloud and Endpoint Security reports, and includes in-depth analysis of 200,000+ hours of monitored network traffic from 996 organisations worldwide and over 9,000 security gateways deployed across various industries.

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