2013 Network Security Threat Report and a 2014 Security Challenge

People in coffee shop using wifi laptopsRecent news of attacks on point of sale systems at retail giant Target, and then luxury retailer Neiman Marcus, were only the latest and among the most high-profile attacks proving, more than ever, that cybercrime is a thriving business.

What those of us in the security industry know is that for every attack that makes headlines, millions of data-stealing malware are hitting business networks at an intense speed and velocity that are never reported in the media. For example, our recent threat report states that Dell SonicWALL collected nearly 20 million unique malware samples in 2013, compared to 16 million in 2012.  The attacks on Target and Neiman Marcus are merely proof points of how stealthy and sophisticated criminals are becoming.   

As Dell delivers on its promise of offering comprehensive, connected security to our customers, there are deeper lessons that can be learned when we see media reports of yet another data breach?  At Dell SonicWALL, we say ‘yes.’  The recent breaches, and the threats we highlighted in our 2013 threat report, prove that even the best security products allow gaping vulnerabilities when they are managed in silos.  The key to protection is connection. 

Since our inception more than 20 years ago, Dell SonicWALL has been working with companies off all sizes that are struggling to keep up with the ever-changing threat landscape.  Over the years, trends like BYOD, cloud computing, and mobility have radically disrupted the way businesses operate and think about security. In the past, security was, perhaps, an obligatory implementation based on compliance requirements.  In today’s post-PC environment where proprietary business data is traveling outside of corporate networks, security is a crucial piece in any enterprise computing environment. 

In speaking with our customers, we understand that when it comes to security, simplicity and efficiency are key.  Sure, everyone wants security that works, but no one wants solutions that burden networks, disrupt business processes and employee productivity.  Our firewalls are built with this in mind. Our network security and data protection solutions enable our customers and partners to dynamically secure, control, and scale their global networks.  Faced with advanced threats, along with the growing use of cloud-based applications in the workplace, this type of security framework that we offer is essential to understanding security risks. 

What makes our approach to security stand out among competitors is the on-going threat research that goes on behind the Dell Threat Center, which provides continuous communication, feedback, and analysis on the nature and changing behavior of today’s threats. With input from millions of shared touch points in the Dell Global Response Intelligent Defense (GRID) Network, the Del SonicWALL Threat Center continuously processes this real-time information, and proactively delivers countermeasures and dynamic updates so customers are informed and protected of potential threats immediately. 

In reviewing 2013, our threat report states a higher level of cybercriminal activities and data breaches than the previous year.  This is nothing new.  Year over year, malware attacks have consistently increased.  Looking ahead into 2014, we predict that cybercriminals will continue to leverage similar attack techniques, but with renewed sophistication.  The mobile workforce, especially those using the Android OS, will continue to be exploited through new vulnerabilities, mobile malware, and even mobile botnets. We’ll see a new form of hybrid malware that will utilize mobile devices to infiltrate and spread across corporate networks.

From a broader industry perspective, we believe that all security vendors have a responsibility to not only work independently, but also holistically in better protecting customers and their data.  The media move fast.  Today, it’s the Target breach.  Tomorrow, they’ll move on to something else.  But our 2014 challenge to the security industry is this:  As security leaders, let’s renew our unwavering commitment to bring to market deeper, broader intelligence and predictive, proactive defenses that ensure the security of our customers’ digital lives. 

The full Dell SonicWALL 2013 Threat Report can be downloaded here.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on the state of security.  Visit our Dell Security Facebook page and Twitter to join in the online discussion and share our security updates. 

About the Author: Patrick Sweeney