Public sector is number one malware target in the UK

When it comes to malware attacks being launched in the UK, never mind banking, the public sector is the number one target for malicious parties.

This news comes courtesy of NTT Com Security's Global Threat Intelligence Report, which incorporated over six billion security attacks that took place last year.

In total, 40 per cent of malware attacks were made against public sector bodies, which was way ahead of the next industry in the firing line – namely insurance which was victimised in 13 per cent of cases.

The financial sector was hit by nine per cent of attacks in the UK, and the media industry suffered at the same rate.

Note that this is in contrast to the global picture, where financial services are the most targeted industry, copping 18 per cent of all detected intrusions.

The long and short of it? The public sector in the UK certainly can't afford to be lax about security, and attackers are likely to want to crack into these organisations due to the amount of valuable data they hold.

Stuart Reed, Senior Director, Global Product Marketing at NTT Com Security, commented: “The fact that public sector figures are so high compared to other sectors in the UK is due largely to the value of the data that many of these organisations have, which makes them attractive and highly prized targets for malware attacks. While the level of threat may vary from organisation to organisation, they all have information that would be of interest to cyber criminals.”

The report also noted that attacks against business and professional services firms have risen from nine per cent to 15 per cent worldwide, and to six per cent in the UK.

This is likely because attackers see these smaller businesses as an easy potential gateway to larger firms they work with.

Reed added: “It’s also interesting that we have seen some campaigns specifically targeting business & professional services. It’s possible that companies in this sector may not have the equivalent security resources and skills in-house that many other larger companies do, yet they potentially yield high value for attackers as both an end target and a gateway target to strategic partners.”