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Hong Kong's retail sector hit by cyber attacks

Anuradha Shukla | March 2, 2011
Findings from new survey by hosted security solutions provider Symantec.cloud

SHENZHEN, CHINA, 2 MARCH 2011- Targeted online attacks have increased significantly for Hong Kong's retail sector, according to new survey by online security expert Symantec.cloud.

The retail industry identified these kinds of attacks five years ago but it has observed many cases in recent months.

This survey was conducted in January 2011, and findings of the survey reveal that targeted attacks increased from a steady monthly average of 0.5 per cent of all attacks for the past two years to 25 per cent in the last quarter of 2010.

More than 40 per cent of Hong Kong-based retail industry respondents admitted that their firm had experienced a cyber attack.

The severity of the impact according to the respondents ranged from very inconvenient and financially damaging (36.2 per cent), to extremely inconvenient and financially damaging (10.5 per cent).

Lack of preparation

Even though many organisations (between 200 and 300) worldwide are targeted each month, they are not prepared to combat this problem. Typically, the scammers are searching for sensitive business information, which they can sell to other criminals.

"The industry clearly recognises the dangers. More than 66 per cent of our survey respondents rated spam, phishing, malware and other cyber mayhem as serious or very serious threats to their business," said the regional director for Symantec.cloud, Nigel Mendonca. "The problem is that they aren't certain that their organisation is capable of combating these threats."

"The large number and variety of key loggers and data-stealing malware illustrate the value that attackers place on data. Attackers are getting a great deal of use out of customers' user accounts, passwords, and confidential business information," added Mendonca.

"In essence, any data on the network is valuable to an attacker and might be used for identity theft or in other attacks. But when customer data is lost, the biggest dangers for retail organisations are reputation damage, loss of customer confidence and the loss of clients to competitors."

Problem solving

Apparently, Hong Kong-based retail industry should take steps to combat threats as most survey respondents agreed their business would be seriously affected if customer information were leaked following a cyber attack.

"Only seven per cent of respondents to the Symantec.cloud survey expressed a high level of confidence that their current security solutions are capable of coping with new e-mail and Web threats. What is more alarming is that fully 43 per cent were only moderately confident and 6.4 per cent had no confidence at all," said Mendonca.

 

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