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Chapter: Security in Computing : The Economics of Cybersecurity

A Summary of Recent Security Surveys

We are not at a loss for surveys on computer crime and security incidents. Several surveys have been conducted for a number of years, so there is a significant body of collected data.

 Sidebar 9-2: A Summary of Recent Security Surveys


We are not at a loss for surveys on computer crime and security incidents. Several surveys have been conducted for a number of years, so there is a significant body of collected data. Some surveys are more statistically accurate than others. And because of survey design, the data from one year's survey are not necessarily comparable to other years of that same survey, let alone to other surveys. Here are some of the surveys of the area.


The CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey is administered in the United States by the Computer Security Institute; it is endorsed by California units of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Voluntary and anonymous, the participants are solicited from CSI members and attendees at CSI conferences and workshops. Five thousand information security practitioners were given the survey in 2005, and 699 responded.


Key findings:


  Viruses are the largest source of financial loss. Unauthorized access showed dramatic gains, replacing denial of service as the second greatest source of loss.


  The total dollar amount of financial loss from cyber crime is decreasing.


  The reporting of intrusions continues to decrease, for fear of negative publicity.


  Only 87 percent of respondents conduct security audits, up from 82 percent in the previous survey.


The 2005 Australian Computer Crime and Security Survey is the fourth annual survey conducted by AusCERT, the Australian National Computer Emergency Response Team. Modeled on the CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey, the Australian survey examines Australia's private and public industry cybersecurity threats, records the number of cyber incidents, and attempts to raise awareness of security issues and effective methods of attack prevention. The survey questionnaire was sent to the chief information security officers of 540 public and private sector organizations in Australia. Participation in the survey was voluntary and anonymous, and AusCERT received 188 responses.


Key findings:


  Only 35 percent of respondents experienced attacks that affected the confidentiality, availability, or integrity of their networks or data systems in 2005, compared with 49 percent in 2004 and 42 percent in 2003.


  The level of insider attacks has remained constant over three years, at 37 percent.


Viruses were the most prevalent type of attack. Denial of service created the most financial loss.

z Only 37 percent of respondents used security standards in 2003, but 65 percent use them now.


In its third year, the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Global Security Survey in 2005 continued to focus on security practices of major global financial institutions. The respondents were voluntary and anonymous, and the data were gathered from extensive interviews with chief information security officers and chief security officers of financial institutions. Additionally, Deloitte allows a preselected group of institutions to participate in the survey using an online questionnaire instead of the interviews. The survey gathers data on seven areas: governance, investment, value, risk, use of security technologies, quality of operations, and privacy. The main issues it addresses are the state of information security practices in the financial services industry, the perceived levels of risk, the types of risks, and the resources and technologies applied to these risks.


Key findings:


  Organizations have hardened their systems, making them less attractive to security breaches from hackers.


  The weakest link is humans, not technology, particularly using phishing and pharming attacks.


  Only 17 percent of respondents overall deem government security-driven regulations as "very effective," and 50 percent "effective" in improving their organization's security position or in reducing data protection risks.


  There is a trend toward having the chief information security officer report to the highest levels of the organization.


The 2004 Ernst and Young Global Information Security Survey found that although company executives are aware of computer security threats, their security practices are lacking. The survey, which included input from 1,233 companies worldwide, also concluded that internal threats are underemphasized and that many organizations rely on luck rather than security measures for protection. Ernst and Young has been conducting this kind of annual survey since 1993, using two methods for data collection. Companies are first asked to participate in face-to -face interviews; if that is not possible, they are sent electronic questionnaires. The survey is anonymous, and participation is voluntary.


Key findings:


  Only one in five respondents strongly agreed that their organizations perceive information security as a priority at the highest corporate levels.


  Lack of security awareness by users was the top obstacle to effective information security. However, only 28 percent of respondents listed "raising employee information security training or awareness" as a top initiative in 2004.


  The top concern among respondents was viruses, Trojan horses, and Internet worms. A distant second was employee misconduct, regardless of geographic region, industry, or organizational size.


  Fewer than half of the respondents provided employees with ongoing training in security and controls.


  Only one in four respondents thought their information security departments were successful in meeting organizational security needs.


  One in ten respondents consider government security-driven regulations to be effective in improving security or reducing risk.


The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a collaborative U.S. effort involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center. It provides information to national, state, and local law enforcement agencies that are battling Internet crime. The IC3 collected its fifth annual compilation of complaints in 2005.


Key findings:


During 2005, the IC3 received over 231,000 submissions, an increase of 11.6 percent over the previous year. Of these, almost 100,000 complaints were referred to law enforcement organizations for further consideration. The majority of the referred cases involved fraud. The total dollar loss was over $182 million, with median dollar loss of $424 per complainant.


  Internet auction fraud was the most frequent complaint, involved in 62.7 percent of the cases. Almost 16 percent of the cases involved nondelivered merchandise or nonpayment. Credit or debit card fraud was involved in almost 7 percent of the cases. The remaining top categories involved check fraud, investment fraud, computer fraud, and confidence fraud.


  More than three of four perpetrators were male, and half resided in one of the following states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, or Ohio. Although most of the reported perpetrators were from the United States, a significant number were located in Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, or China.


  Sixty-four percent of complainants were male, nearly half were between the ages of 30 and 50, and one-third resided in one of the four most populated states: California, Florida, Texas, or New York. For every dollar lost by a female, $1.86 dollars was lost by a male.


  High activity scams included Super Bowl ticket scams, phishing attempts associated with spoofed sites, reshipping, eBay account takeovers, natural disaster fraud, and international lottery scams.


The Imation Data Protection Survey sponsored by Imation Corporation attempts to understand how small and mid-size U.S. companies conduct data backup, protection, and recovery. In 2004, the online survey gathered information from 204 tape storage managers and information technology directors, who were selected by the Technology Advisory Board, a worldwide panel of more than 25,000 engineers, scientists, and IT professionals.


Key findings:


  Most companies have no formal data backup and storage procedures in place. They rely instead on the initiative of individual employees.


  E-mail viruses are the primary reason companies review and change their data protection procedures.


  Regular testing of disaster recovery procedures is not yet a common practice.


In 2002, Information Security Magazine (ISM) gathered data from 2,196 security practitioners regarding organizational behavior and practices. By separating the data by organization size, the ISM survey detailed the differences in security responses and budget allocations. The survey found


  Security spending per user and per machine decreases as organization size increases.


  Allocating money for security does not reduce the probability of being attacked but does help an organization detect losses.


  Most organizations do not have a security culture or an incident response plan.



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