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AT&T under constant attack by cybercriminals

The American Internet Service Provider AT&T has revealed that its network is constantly under the threat of attack by cybercriminals looking for ways to breach its security.

Each day the company detects over 30 billion malicious scans being deployed to find weaknesses in its network. Cybercriminals often use such scans to detect security vulnerabilities that could be exploited in future attacks. Researchers at AT&T also noted how the number of ransomware attacks increased significantly, with as many as 1.5 million new attacks occurring between 2013 and 2015.

Jason Porter, the Vice President of AT&T Security Solutions explained the inevitable rise of cyber attacks in a blog post saying: “As the number and kinds of cyber attacks continue to grow, breaches are inevitable. In 2015, 62 per cent of organisations reported having security breaches. And 42 per cent of these businesses said the negative impact on their business was significant. In the past year, security incidents have caused major enterprises an average of 23 hours of down time. Even medium-sized businesses experienced an average of 14 hours of downtime."

Of the 30 billion malicious scans detected daily by AT&T, 5 billion are aimed at its own network which has the necessary security measures in place to fend off such attacks. In addition to these scans, the company also blocks over 200,000 malware attacks each day and detects around 400 million spam messages. AT&T's latest cybersecurity report titled “The CEO's Guide to Cyberbreach Response” also highlighted how it has detected over 245,000 DDoS (Distributed Denial of Services) attacks which were intended to disrupt its network possibly paving the way for an even more damaging security breach.

By revealing how many cyber attacks it deals with on a daily basis, AT&T may help other telecoms and businesses realise the damage that cybercriminals could do to their organisations, with John Porter noting that a mere hour or two of downtime could have far reaching consequences and may even result in “millions of dollars lost.”

Image Credit: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.