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Corporations becoming number one security threat to their own customers: IBM X-Force

IBM Corp. has released results from its annual 2008 X-Force Trend and Risk report, which found that corporations ar...


February 4, 2009  


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IBM Corp. has released results from its annual 2008 X-Force Trend and Risk report, which found that corporations are unwittingly putting their own customers at risk for cybercriminal activity.

 

With an alarming increase in attacks using legitimate business sites as launching pads for attacks against consumers, cybercriminals are literally turning businesses against their own customers in the ongoing effort to steal consumers’ personal data.

 

The new X-Force report identifies two main trends from 2008 that show how criminals are targeting the masses through Web site attacks:

 

First, Web sites have become the Achilles’ heel for corporate IT security. Attackers are intensely focused on attacking Web applications so they can infect end-user machines. Meanwhile, corporations are using off-the-shelf applications that are riddled with vulnerabilities or even worse, custom applications that can host numerous unknown vulnerabilities that cannot be patched.

 

Last year more than half of all vulnerabilities disclosed were related to Web applications, and of these, more than 74% had no patch.

 

“The purpose of these automated attacks is to deceive and redirect Web surfers to Web browser exploit toolkits,” said Kris Lamb, senior operations manager, X-Force Research and Development for IBM Internet Security Systems.

 

“This is one of the oldest forms of mass attack still in existence today. It is staggering that we still see SQL injection attacks in widespread use without adequate patching almost 10 years after they were first disclosed. Cybercriminals target businesses because they provide an easy target to launch attacks against anyone that visits the Web.”

 

The X-Force has been cataloguing, analyzing and researching vulnerability disclosures since 1997. With nearly 40,000 security vulnerabilities catalogued, it has the largest vulnerability database in the world.