Security Experts:

Bit9 Survey: InfoSec Professionals Concerned About Anonymous

According to new research from Bit9, 61% of IT security professionals are concerned about attacks from Anonymous or other hacktivists. The data comes from questions given to nearly 2,000 IT security experts in order to discover what keeps them awake at night.

Bit9's 2012 Cyber Security Survey revealed that 64% of respondents hold the belief that their organization will be the target of a cyber attack of some kind within the next six months. Of those who made that prediction, the three most likely sources were Anonymous (or other hacktivist), cyber criminals (bot masters or generic criminal), or nation states (China).

Bit9 LogoWith that said, the majority of those who took part in the study (74%) do not feel their existing endpoint protections are doing enough to protect their networks, nor do they feel confident that they would prevent these hypothetical attacks.

Other items of note from the report include:

• Sixty-two percent of respondents are most concerned about targeted attack methods.

• Malware (45 percent) and spear phishing (17 percent) techniques commonly used in targeted criminal and state sponsored espionage attacks are most worrisome to those who took part in the study.

• Concern about attack methods commonly used by hacktivists trailed 11 percent for distributed denial of service (DDoS) and only 4 percent for SQL injection.

• Ninety-five percent of respondents believe cyber security breaches should be disclosed to customers and to the public

• Almost half of respondents (48 percent) feel that breached companies should not only disclose the breach, but they should also provide a description of what is stolen, while nearly a third (29 percent) believes a description of how the attack occurred should also be shared. Only 6 percent felt that nothing should be disclosed.

“The survey results put a spotlight on an interesting contradiction: on the surface, people are most afraid of embarrassing, highly publicized attacks from hacktivist organizations like Anonymous, but they recognize that the more serious threats come from criminal organizations and nation states,” said Harry Sverdlove, CTO of Bit9.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.