McAfee finds sophisticated attacks targeting other 'critical sectors' of the economy

McAfee finds sophisticated attacks targeting other 'critical sectors' of the economy

Summary: Cyber criminals are moving beyond financial services with an increasing number of attacks on other economic and governmental segments, according to McAfee.


Financial services has been a favorite target for sophisticated attacks in the last few years, but cyber criminals are moving on to other "critical sectors of the economy," according to McAfee.

In the security giant's fourth quarter threats report, researchers highlighted some of the new schemes being used in this regard and other high-profile attacks, including advanced persistent threats (APTs) such as Operation High Roller and Project Blitzkrieg.

Both of these methods attack financial services infrastructures, with the former aimed at manufacturing and import/export firms in the United States and Latin America, while Blitzkrieg hits both consumers and their banks through illicit electronic fund transfers.

Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, explained in the report why many of these cyber criminals are becoming more interested in government, manufacturing and commercial transaction infrastructure targets.

We are seeing attacks shifting into a variety of new areas, from factories, to corporations, to government agencies, to the infrastructure that connects them together. This represents a new chapter in cybersecurity in that threat-development, driven by the lure of financial industry profits, has created a growing underground market for these cybercrime weapons, as well as creative new approaches to thwarting security measures common across industries.

But specific hacktivist activity increased only "modestly" last quarter, with attacks cited against both public and private sector targets in Israel, Syria, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Researchers also predicted that these attacks will actually decline throughout 2013 -- only to be replaced by attacks "sponsored and executed by state actors."

For reference, the fourth quarter report is based on data from McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence network with 500 multidisciplinary researchers in 30 countries.

Topics: Security, Government, Legal, Privacy

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  • The government isn't any help, they are way too stupid to stop the hackers.

    The drooling morons in the government can't even put passwords on computers, there isn't a single chance in hell of them ever stopping a single hacker. They are totally inept at everything except screwing up.
    Reality Bites
    • Companies are not exactly doing much, if any better

      How many emergency replacement credit/debit cards have you received the past few years?
    • Attacks on Other 'Critical Sectors' of the Economy

      I don't understand the need by everyone to put their systems on the internet. Most power and water companies had or have control systems that were entirely separate from their administrative systems. Why is a need to physically connect these systems. A physically isolated system cannot be hacked by anyone unless the programmer is stupid or lazy and leaves a back door in the system.
      • Absolutely Correct

        They will eventually come to realize this and reverse the trend. But, not until after suffering losses.
        Burger Meister
      • You are correct!

        I handle many systems and "system of systems" that can be descirbed as Industrial Control Systems (SCADA). I have more confidence when there is no Internet or company/corporate network connectivity that these system are secured. The only vulnerability would be from the inside. But with physical access controls, and personnel familiarity, even better. It seems that some of my systems now want to go with a COTS solution for improvement, and wouldn't you know that they also want to manage the system remote!
  • Sites Left Open For a reason

    I'm no hacker but any jack wagon with backtrack and you tube script kiddies can pull some of these attacks off. It is also so odd and that the attacks seem to circulate around countries that can start the next world war Israel, Syria, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as just smell of governments trying to take down certain countries. Mainly these countries are the last few left that can actually and willingly protect themselves in a physical attack i.e. War who is the puppet tier is the real question.