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IBM X-Force Report: 2010 marked a year of sophisticated, targeted security attacks

IBM Corp. recently released results from its annual X-Force 2010 Trend and Risk Report and it revealed that public and private organizations around the world faced increasingly sophisticated, customized IT security threats in 2010.


April 6, 2011  


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IBM Corp. recently released results from its annual X-Force 2010 Trend and Risk Report and it revealed that public and private organizations around the world faced increasingly sophisticated, customized IT security threats in 2010.

Based on the intelligence gathered through research of public vulnerability disclosures, and the monitoring and analysis of more than 150,000 security events per second during every day of 2010, key observations from the IBM X-Force Research team included:

* More than 8,000 new vulnerabilities were documented, a 27% rise from 2009.  Public exploit releases were also up 21% from 2009 to 2010.

* The historically high growth in spam volume leveled off by the end of 2010. This indicates that spammers may be seeing less value from increasing the volume of spam, and instead are focused on making sure it is bypassing filters.

* While overall there were significantly fewer phishing attacks relative to previous years, “spear phishing,” a more targeted attack technique, grew in importance in 2010.

* As end user adoption of smart phones and other mobile devices increased, IT security departments have struggled to determine the right way to bring these devices safely into corporate networks. Although attacks against the latest generation of mobile devices were not yet widely prevalent in 2010, IBM X-Force data showed a rise in vulnerability disclosures and exploits that target these devices.

“From Stuxnet to Zeus Botnets to mobile exploits, a widening variety of attack methodologies is popping up each day,” said Tom Cross, threat intelligence manager with IBM X-Force.

“The numerous, high profile targeted attacks in 2010 shed light on a crop of highly sophisticated cyber criminals, who may be well-funded and operating with knowledge of security vulnerabilities that no one else has. Staying ahead of these growing threats and designing software and services that are secure from the start has never been more critical.”

The IBM X-Force Trend and Risk Report is an annual assessment of the security landscape, designed to help clients better understand the latest security risks, and stay ahead of these threats.