In a press release, Gartner, Inc. advises businesses to plan for five increasingly prevalent cyberthreats that have the potential to inflict significant damage on organisations during the next two years. These threats are:
- Targeted threats (Targeted threats are cyber attacks with a financial motivation that are aimed at one company or one industry);
- Identity theft (Identity theft refers to the theft of an individual's personal or financial information for the purpose of stealing money or committing other types of crimes);
- Spyware (Spyware is malicious software that can probe systems, reporting user behaviour to an advertiser or other party without the user’s knowledge);
- Social engineering (Social engineering is the practice of obtaining confidential information by manipulating legitimate users);
- Viruses (Viruses are malicious programmes that use a propagation method to enable widespread distribution.)
According to Amrit Williams, research director at Gartner, "We are seeing an increasingly hostile environment fuelled by financially motivated and targeted cyber attacks. By 2008 we expect that 40 percent of organisations will be targeted by financially motivated cybercrime."
"Cyber attacks are not new, but what is changing is the motivation behind them. They are no longer just executed by hackers for hobby or cybervandilism, but by professionals with a targeted aim at one person, one company or one industry," said Williams.
"For example, we have recently seen several companies hiring private investigators to spy on their competitors. Private investigators used Trojans to install targeted spyware on competitors’ computers to gather confidential information about such things as upcoming bids and customers."
Gartner said that social engineering and viruses will remain an everyday nuisance for chief information security officers through 2009. It warned that in the next two years, at least 50 percent of organisations will experience a social engineering or a virus attack."
Access the full report and Gartner news release here.