The Security Detail

Apr 21 2011   10:02PM GMT

McAfee Report Finds Critical Infrastructure Woefully Insecure

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

It is called the “critical” infrastructure for a reason.

If the country were ever to fall prey to a physical attack, a cyber attack, or even a biological epidemic, it might not matter if we can’t see this week’s episode of Glee in HD, and it won’t be the end of the world if the corner store runs out of Redbull, but there are some things that are crucial to the continued productivity and sustenance of the nation even in the face of a disaster that must be protected: power, communications, and clean water to name a few.

Why is it, then, that this infrastructure we have deemed “critical” seems so ill-prepared to actually survive an attack–at least a cyber attack? Dr. Phyllis Schneck, Vice President of Threat Intelligence for McAfee, explains, “Perhaps one of the most frightening findings in the report is the fact that, although the security threat and awareness of the threat have increased exponentially, the energy sector increased its adoption of security technologies by only one percent.”

Schneck’s blog post also lays out the key findings of the McAfee report:

  • Eighty percent of respondents have faced a large-scale denial of service attack
  • Twenty-five percent of respondents have been victims of extortion attempts
  • More than 40 percent of executives believe that their industry’s vulnerability has increased
  • Almost 30 percent believe their company is not prepared for a cyberattack
  • More than 40 percent expect a major cyberattack within the next year
  • Energy sector increased its adoption of security technologies by only a single percentage point, at 51 percent
  • Oil and gas industries increased by only three percentage points, at 48 percent
  • Nearly 70 percent of respondents frequently found malware designed to sabotage their systems
  • A quarter of respondents reported daily or weekly DDoS attacks

Click here to download the full McAfee report: In The Dark: Crucial Industries Confront Cyberattacks

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