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Cyberattacks from U.S. "greatest concern"
Published: 2010-01-28

Global companies worry more about cyberattacks from actors based in the United States, not China, according to a survey of 600 information-technology executives released by McAfee on Thursday.

The survey found that 36 percent ranked network attacks coming from the United States as their "greatest concern," compared to 33 percent most concerned about attacks from China. Russia came in a distant third, with only 12 percent of those polled rating it the most concerning. Different industry sectors worried about potential attackers from different countries: Government agencies worried more about attacks from China, while executives in the power industry worried more about attacks from Russia.

The report also put a number on the cost to companies of a network attack: $6.3 million a day.

"That is a huge number and it incentivizes companies to tackle their security problems," said Phyllis Schneck, vice president of threat intelligence for McAfee. "It opens people's eyes to infrastructure protection as a global cybersecurity issue."

The report arrived two weeks after Google publicized a series of network attacks that targeted the online giant and at least twenty, and as many as 33, other companies. The company attributed the attack to attackers operating out of China.

The report also found that cybercrime had plagued infrastructure firms, with one-in-five companies reporting extortion attempts or threats of cyberattack in the past two years. Some industry sectors were targeted more often, however. Nearly a third of respondents in the oil-and-gas industry were threatened with attacks, while 27 percent of power firms acknowledged such threats.

On Monday, the Christian Science Monitor documented its five-month investigation into attacks on oil-and-gas firms.

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Posted by: Robert Lemos
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