Cyber attacks on Indian businesses on the rise, says Cisco

Over one-third of organisations around the world experienced a cyber breach in 2016 and reported loss of customers, opportunity and revenue of more than 20 per cent, according to the Cisco 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report.

The report surveyed nearly 3,000 chief security officers (CSOs) and security operations leaders from 13 countries.

''Two big changes have happened in the cybersecurity practice in India over the last couple of years. First, the network has now become the first line of defence for your entire infrastructure, no matter if the infrastructure is on-premise, on the cloud or laptops, desktops or mobile devices. Secondly, there is a growing realisation that breaches will definitely happen, so there is a crying need to come up with solutions to mitigate those breaches once they happen,'' Pravin Srinivasan, head, networking transformation, Cisco India & SAARC told The Economic Times.

India saw an 85 per cent increase in IP blocks, which represent the security system blocking an email sender because of their behaviour.

''The significant increase in IP blocks could be attributed not just to the rise in spam volume but also to security reputation systems adapting to the new information automatically gathered about spam senders. Emerging economies like Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam and China have also seen significant increase in IP blocks,'' said Srinivasan.

The report found that spam accounts for 65 per cent of the total email volume, thriving through spam-sending botnets like Necurs, and 8 per cent of this spam is malicious. Cyber attackers also found new ways to attack enterprise systems, with some advertising campaigns employing brokers that act as middle managers, masking malicious activity. This gives attackers a virtual ''cover'', allowing them to move with greater speed, maintain their operational space, and evade detection.

The Cisco study also found that 20 per cent of breached organisations lost customers, with 40 per cent of them losing more than 20 per cent of their customer base. As many as 29 per cent lost revenue and 23 per cent breached organisations lost business opportunities.

Old-fashioned adware software that downloads advertising without user permission continued to be the leading cause, infecting 75 per cent organisations investigated.

Cloud also proved to be an entry point for attacks, with 27 per cent employee-introduced, third-party cloud applications being categorised as high risk.