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28 Jun 2005

Targeted attacks pose new security challenge

Computerworld reports that "'We're clearly seeing a trend away from broadcast attacks to much more targeted and much more sophisticated types of attacks,' said Andreas Wuchner-Bruhl, head of global IT security at Novartis Pharma AG, a drug maker in Basel, Switzerland. 'Dealing with it is much tougher.' That's because 'the cons in the attacks are so much better customized' for the specific companies they target, said Lloyd Hession, chief information security officer at BT Radianz, a New York-based provider of telecommunications services to the financial industry. 'The chances of them being successful are much higher' than in large-scale attacks, he said." The potential for malware attacks targeting specific companies, or even individuals, looks clear to us, and we're not just talking about phishing/pharming type attacks. We can forsee worms, for instance, that are slow spreading, benign and cryptic (thereby largely evading the interest of the antivirus community) unless/until they find themselves inside the target organization whereupon they spring to life with devastating concequences. A senior manager at antivirus supplier Sophos with whom we discussed this very point three months ago did not see this as a serious threat but we beg to differ.
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