2019 Global Threat Intelligence Report: “Finance returns to top spot as most attacked sector in EMEA”

NTT Security has published its 2019 Global Threat Intelligence Report, which reveals finance as being the most attacked sector in the EMEA (accounting for 30% of all cyber attacks compared to 17% globally). Finance knocks business and professional services off the top spot, which was last year’s most attacked sector at 20%.

NTT Security summarises data from trillions of logs and billions of attacks for the 2019 Global Threat Intelligence Report, which analyses threat trends based on log, event, attack, incident and vulnerability data from NTT Group operating companies. In the report, NTT Security continues its analysis of attacks against 18 industry sectors and shares its observations of the challenges faced by organisations globally.

The Global Threat Intelligence Report also reveals that the finance sector is joined by business and professional services (24%), technology (17%) and manufacturing (9%) in the list of the Top Four attacked industries in EMEA. Web application attacks are largely to blame, accounting for over 43% of hostile activity against these sectors, which is well above the global average of 32%.

The finance industry in EMEA experienced a sizeable increase in web attacks, almost doubling from 22% to 43% over the last year, reinforcing its vulnerability to cyber security attacks. Similarly, manufacturing experienced a massive surge in web attacks (rising from 9% to 42%), although the overall attack volume across EMEA decreased.

Kai Grunwitz, senior vice-president for EMEA at NTT Security, said: “Finance is in the top spot when it comes to targeted attacks, which surely is enough evidence to convince Boards that cyber security is a must-have investment. Many financial organisations are moving forward with digital transformation, but without security built-in. While legacy methods and tools are still quite effective at providing a solid foundation for mitigation, new attack methods are constantly being developed by malicious actors. Security leaders should ensure that basic controls remain effective, but they must also embrace innovative solutions if they provide a good fit and true value.”

Grunwitz continued: “Some of the most prevalent activity in EMEA during the past year was related to web application attacks. That’s not surprising. These attacks most often rely on leveraging an exposed unpatched vulnerability or misconfigured system, targeting organisations with high volumes of sensitive data. The consequences could be devastating as it could be used for financial gain, industry superiority or corporate espionage. Our Global Threat Intelligence Report once again highlights the fact that critical vulnerabilities – both old and new – need to be patched as quickly as possible in client environments, especially so given the convergence of IT with Operational Technology.”

Solutions to problems

Elsewhere in the Global Threat Intelligence Report, attacks from sources within China against all targets in EMEA dropped by nearly 40% to 13%, following closely behind the United States at 16%. Although this doesn’t imply the actual attacker has changed. Rather, the source of the attacks has changed. Interestingly, the Top Five attacked sectors in EMEA experienced more attacks from within EMEA than from any other region (75%). This supports the common notion that attackers tend to leverage attack sources near their targets. This is an observation demonstrated much more strongly in EMEA than other regions.

Fumitaka Takeuchi, security evangelist and vice-president at NTT Communications, observed: “Many organisations are caught up in simply buying solutions to problems that either don’t really exist or that cost more than the potential loss being prevented. Our advice for organisations, regardless of the industry in which they operate, is to leverage existing relationships with trusted experts and keep an eye on professional and managed service maturity in the cyber security space. First and foremost, it’s absolutely essential to know where the real risks lie and then develop solutions accordingly.”

Stefaan Hinderyckx, senior director of security for Europe at Dimension Data, added: “This year’s Global Threat Intelligence Report clearly demonstrates that cyber security attacks are constantly evolving. While attack volumes don’t always increase, new threats are certainly being introduced. In fact, 2018 set a record for the number of new vulnerabilities identified and reported in a single year. NTT Group has spent the last 15 years working with clients to help them defend against the evolving threat landscape, which is now increasingly complex. Understanding the threat environment helps our clients predict and mitigate potential threats in the digital world.”

*Learn more about how this year’s Global Threat Intelligence Report offers organisations a robust framework to address today’s cyber threat landscape by accessing this link: https://www.nttsecurity.com/en-uk/landing-pages/2019-gtir 

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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