The Year of Data Breaches: is Anyone Safe from Cyber Attacks These Days?

Trend Micro, a global cloud security company with a Canadian arm based in Ottawa, has released its annual threat round-up report. The report labels 2011 as “The Year of Data Breaches.” Trend Micro notes that we witnessed many large, well-known companies “succumb to targeted data breach attacks” that “not only stained reputations, but caused significant collateral damage.”

“With 3.5 new threats created every second, and as businesses and consumers take the journey to the cloud, the risk of data and financial loss are greater than ever,” said Raimund Genes, CTO. “As an industry, we must continue to evolve and create better, data-centric security products for the post-PC era. Users need greater visibility and assurance into who is accessing their data, when, where and how.”

“By sharing our observations about the past year,” added Jim Short, Trend Micro Canada’s General Manager, “We hope to contribute to a better understanding among those who live and work on line about our strong belief that data needs to be protected at all times and in all places—at rest, in motion, or whose device or data centre it is residing in.”

Mobile Threats Reached New Levels: Trend Micro threat researchers tracked a staggering spike in the volume of mobile malware, especially those targeting the Android platform.

Spammers Gained: 2011 was a profitable year for social media threats, spammers and scammers who leveraged the trending topics of social networking sites to improve upon their social engineering and hacking tactics, stealing the data of millions of social networkers worldwide. Consequently, regulators have started demanding that social networking sites implement policies and mechanisms to protect the privacy of their users.

Less Attacks, More Vulnerability: while the number of publicly reported vulnerabilities decreased from 4,651 in 2010 to 4,155 in 2011, exploit attacks evolved with higher complexity and sophistication. Exploit attacks in 2011 were targeted, original, and well controlled, the most notable of which set their sights on CVE-2011-3402, CVE-2011-3544, and CVE-2011-3414, along with a couple of Adobe product zero-day vulnerabilities that were exploited in the wild.

Biggest Win: Despite an aggressive cybercriminal landscape, Trend Micro, along with its industry partners and law enforcement authorities achieved some remarkable and strategic wins this year. One of them Operation Ghost Click – reached success after five years of stealth tracking and working closely with the FBI. Trend Micro, the only security company that was involved, was able to assist the FBI in what was noted as the biggest cybercriminal takedown in history.

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