Canadians mostly concerned with the broad cyber-threat: Symantec

Cyber Crime ButtonEven though cybercriminals are getting more specific with their attacks and carefully selecting targets, Canadian organizations are still more concerned with more general threats that were the cyber-crime tactic of years past, according to security vendor Symantec.

Paul Pinkney, director of solution strategy at Symantec, told attendees of the annual SecTor security conference in Toronto that over the last year, there’s been a continued evolution of thieves moving away from hacking toward more dubious, targeted practices like cybercrime, cyber-espionage, and cyber-warfare. Of most interest to Canadian organizations though, is what he called the broad cyber-threat.

“It’s the different types of various threats that can occur and that have been going on for many years that is of particular interest to Canadians. Things like spam, mobile device threats, social networking, and server virtualization,” he explained.

“Last year, Symantec blocked just over 3 billion attacks. We saw 14 new zero-day vulnerabilities, 163 new mobile vulnerabilities, over 6,000 new vulnerabilities in total and 286 million new malware variants.”

The proliferation of smart devices in the workplace is a cause of obvious concern. Pinkney said mobile devices represent a threat target or vector for access to information within an organization.

“We saw a 42 per cent increase in the number of vulnerabilities in the mobile device market in the last year. Most of the malware for mobile devices were Trojans posing as legitimate applications,” he said. “The threat landscape will continue to evolve for mobile devices, particularly as more folks use them for financial transactions.”

On the subject of server virtualization, Pinkney said worldwide, adoption of server virtualization is in the 40 per cent range but it’s moving towards 60 per cent to 80 per cent adoption.

“In Canada, virtualization is a big initiative for folks that own the infrastructure and we’re seeing higher than average server virtualization adoption rates,” he remarked. “The general concern for security is around the antivirus scan that customers wish to initiate in these infrastructures and the performance hit they’re facing as they do so.”

To that end, Symantec’s Endpoint v12 addresses that performance hit with its Shared Insight Cache Server feature, he said, which essentially lets Symantec clients share scan results so identical files only need be scanned once. The Shared Insight Cache can reduce the effect of a full scan by as much as 80 per cent, officials said.

Meanwhile, on the subject of enterprise mobility, Pinkney said organizations should be thinking more about information security.

“Mobile device vendors are getting better at placing the security of devices at the heart of development but it is primarily focused on infrastructure protection,” he added. “Think about the fact that any mobile device is an endpoint into an organization and how to provide a secure connection between the organization and the device.”

The security vendor has a number of products to aid organizations looking to shore up mobile security, Pinkney added. Symantec recently said it would launch what it calls the Data Loss Prevention for Tablet solution in 2012.