Radware Highlight ‘Internet of Zombies’ as Channel Opportunity

Radware has released its Global Application and Network Security Report 2015-2016, which highlights that the age of the ‘Internet of Zombies’ is upon us, and that it will be the biggest opportunity for the channel in 2016.

In the last year, over 90% of companies surveyed experienced a cyber attack. Half of all businesses attacked said they had experienced burst bot attacks, a short but intensive form of automated attack, up from 27% in 2014. Radware’s Emergency Response Team (ERT), which compiles the report using insight from dealing with attacks, complex analysis of the ‘dark web’ and input from over 300 companies*, believes that ‘burst bots’ will be the fastest growing type of attack in 2016. It believes the channel winners will be those who gear up for the challenge presented by automated ‘zombie’ armies and the relentless Advanced Persistent Denial of Service (APDoS) attacks that cyber criminals can leave to run for days, even weeks, at a time.

The study found that businesses’ preparedness is mixed, highlighting the opportunity for the channel to drive cyber security innovation and adoption: 60% state they are not very prepared to fight the Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) that the Internet of Zombies brings. 46% of businesses admitted they couldn’t cope with a sustained attack that lasted longer than a day and 60% have to manually tune their security to manage each attack.

Adrian Crawley, regional director for Northern EMEA at Radware, believes that as hacking becomes more automated, businesses will need to find ways to fight the ‘Internet of Zombies’, “This year things will change and the first line of defence for information security will no longer include people. As company defences continue to succumb to endless floods of sophisticated, automated attacks and new attack techniques, CSOs will need to combine a virtual cyber army with skills. People are simply not equipped to make the decisions quickly enough to fight back on the front line. This is where the channel can step in and bridge the gap. We are approaching the fall of human cyber defences and the channel needs to exploit the age of the ‘Internet of Zombies’ by providing solutions that will overcome the complexities it presents.”

The opportunity is great in terms of sectors too. The financial services sector, for example, is most likely to be targeted by intensive bursts of bot-hacks because they are highly effective at creating ‘smoke screens’. This diverts the security team’s attention away, leaving them vulnerable to further attacks that are more sinister such as extortion or theft of customer data.

This approach is also becoming increasingly common in retail, and healthcare where the data is considered to be up to 50% more valuable.

Meanwhile ISPs and hosting companies attract more types of attack than any other sector and still pose a lucrative market for the channel. Analysis on this trend by Radware’s ERT team has uncovered that sites that are deemed ‘offensive’ are more commonly the target for hacktivists. By focusing a campaign on the ISPs that host such sites, hackers make their point by unleashing destructive campaigns that cause maximum disruption to thousands of other businesses that also rely on the ISP.

The study also shows that many companies are working blind when it comes to identifying the motivation for attacks. Adrian is encouraging the channel to partner with experts who are constantly scanning for risks and can help advise on the threats in real-time: “In 50% of cases the organisations surveyed had no idea why they had been attacked, political hactivism for social or ethical change was the cause in 34% of cases, while angry users were behind 25% of cases. In 27% of attacks the competition was the perpetrator – a very common scenario in the gambling sector.

“These findings tell us that the channel can play an important role in helping businesses prepare for the unexpected, especially when you consider that last year 21% of businesses enlisted help from outside the company. It’s a number I think will grow in 2016. CSOs are actively looking for both the technical solution, and the skills and insight that will help them protect their business today and plan for the threats that could hold their operations to ransom in the future.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine