ATHENS – Cybercrime attacks are going unreported in Greece with companies either unaware of incidents or trying to sweep them under the carpet, experts told a security conference on Thursday.
A cybersecurity study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the London-based services firm, has found that a suspiciously-high 61 percent of Greek businesses had not detected a single security incident over the past year.
Another 27 percent reported 1-2 incidents while 11 percent reported more than three incidents.
The eurozone average was 26 percent for no attacks, 20 percent for 1-2 attacks and 43 percent for more than three attacks, said Socratis Katsikas, a digital systems professor at the University of Piraeus who presented the data.
“It’s more likely that some companies did not even realise the attack, which is worse, or don’t want to report it,” Katsikas told a conference organised by the Greek cybercrime police squad.
Professor Costas Lambrinoudakis, who teaches at the same department, added that from 2007 onwards financial fraud has replaced viruses as the main threat for computer users.
“Only a small number of companies will announce an incident. Most will try to conceal it to avoid bad publicity,” he said.
“The most significant source of industrial espionage are insiders who are responsible for over 70 percent of information theft according to recent US surveys,” said Massimiliano Michenzi, a Europol chief inspector specialising in credit card fraud.
Some internal threats are rather benign.
Lambrinoudakis spoke of a large corporation that was baffled to see its Web server inexplicably crash every day at 7 in the afternoon.
It turned out that the building cleaner had been unplugging the server to connect her vacuum cleaner, he said.
But generally the threat is serious.
“It used to be about fame among hackers, but now it’s proper organised crime,” said Sotiris Ioannidis from the Foundation for Research and Technology (Forth) institute of computer science.
“(The perpetrators) use social networks, search engines and even innocent-looking PDF and word files to spread malware (malicious software),” he said.
According to research from software security firm Symantec, 431 million adults around the world fell victim to cybercrime attacks in 2010.
The cost measured in money and lost time was $388 billion (284 billion euros) when the global market for cannabis, cocaine and heroin that year was worth 288 billion euros, Ioannidis said.