Cyber attacks like the high-profile Operation Aurora incident that targeted Google, Adobe Systems, and two dozen other U.S. companies are becoming the rule rather than the exception, according to a new survey commissioned by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
More than half (54 percent) of 600 IT executives surveyed said their companies had already suffered a large-scale attack or stealthy infiltration from organized crime gangs, terrorists or nation-states, the report said.
The initial estimated cost of downtime associated with a major cyber attack incident is more than $6.3 million a day — expensive, but only a drop in the bucket compared to the price of losing key intellectual property or having a supply chain or Web site disrupted by strategically placed malware.
McAfee and the CSIS presented their report at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, hoping to shine an even brighter light on the serious damage hackers and nation-sponsored cyber terrorists could wreak on critical infrastructure such as electrical grids, oil and gas production, telecommunications and transportation networks.
Earlier this week, new revelations of orchestrated cyber attacks against ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO) originating from China brought this issue of national and economic security to the fore in a very real and distressing way.
The oil companies were targeted by unsolicited e-mails looking to extract proprietary information including “bid data” — the files containing details on the quantity, value and location of oil discoveries around the word. Officials close to the investigation said some of the attacks appeared to have originated in China and that servers located in the country were used to store some of the stolen data.
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