300% growth in enterprise attacks across UK and Ireland

At Infosecurity Europe 2014, FireEye announced the release of its Regional Advanced Threat Report for the United Kingdom and Ireland (UKI). Detailing malicious activities captured by the FireEye Security Platform throughout 2013, the report found that an average of over 70 new infections occurred within enterprises every day and that 12 major UKI verticals were impacted by advanced persistent threat (APT) attacks.

“With financial and telecommunications operations being key drivers of the United Kingdom’s and Ireland’s markets, advanced threat actors have many high-value targets to go after in both countries,” said Paul Davis, vice president, Europe at FireEye. “Combine this with the proliferation of high-tech across all industries and it becomes clear as to why we have seen such a drastic spike in attacks since the beginning of 2013.”

Drawing on worldwide data gathered from nearly 40,000 unique cyber attacks (more than 100 per day) and over 22 million malware command and control communications, the Advanced Threat Report provides a look into cyber attacks that routinely bypass traditional defenses such as firewalls, next-generation firewalls, IPS, anti-virus, and security gateways.

Some of the key findings from the Regional Advanced Threat Report for the United Kingdom and Ireland include:

The United Kingdom was one of the top ten countries in the world exposed to APT attacks when measured by number of unique verticals targeted. With 12 unique verticals hit, the United Kingdom was tied for fourth with France and Thailand.

The top ten verticals that were most targeted by APT attacks in 2013 were:

1. Federal Government
2. Energy/Utilities/Petroleum Refining
3. Financial Services
4. Higher Education

Every day in the last quarter of 2013, more than 130 unique infections of enterprises were identified, with 45 percent of the year’s infections occurring during this timeframe.

The following verticals were the top five whose workstations fell most victim to infections in 2013:

1. Financial Services
2. Telecommunications
3. Energy/Utilities/Petroleum Refining
4. Healthcare/Pharmaceuticals
5. Higher Education

The APT malware families Backdoor.LV, Taidoor, and PingBed accounted for 37 percent of the APT attacks carried out in the UK and Ireland in 2013.

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