McAfee survey: 22% CIOs say their network was breached

22 percent of 800 CIOs and security managers from the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Australia, Brazil and South Africa said their network was breached, said a McAfee survey.

The McAfee survey examined Advanced Evasion Techniques (AETs) and the role that they play in Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs).

Nearly 40 percent of those breached believe that AETs played a key role. On average, those who experienced a breach in the last 12 months reported a cost to their organization of upwards of $1 million.

John Masserini, vice president and chief security officer, MIAX Options, said: “Advanced Evasion Techniques are that sliver of light. When deployed, McAfee’s Next Generation Firewall technology adds an extra layer of depth to protect against such threats, making that sliver of light that much harder to find.”

McAfee survey

Nearly 40 percent of IT decision-makers do not believe they have methods to detect and track AETs within their organization, and almost two thirds said that the biggest challenge when trying to implement technology against AETs is convincing the board they are a real and serious threat.

Of the estimated 800 million known AETs, less than one percent is detected by other vendor’s firewalls. The prevalence of these techniques has risen significantly since 2010 with millions of combinations and modifications of network based AETs having been identified to date.

“The simple truth is that Advanced Evasion Techniques (AETs) are a fact of life. It’s shocking that the majority of CIOs and security professionals severely underestimated that there are 329,246 AETs, when in fact the total of known AETs is approximately 2,500 times that number or more than 800 million AETs and growing,” said Andrew Blyth of the University of South Wales.

AETs are methods of disguise used to penetrate target networks undetected and deliver malicious payloads. They were first discovered in 2010 by network security specialist Stonesoft, which was acquired by McAfee in May 2013. Using AETs, an attacker can split apart an exploit into pieces, bypass a firewall or IPS appliance, and once inside the network, reassemble the code to unleash malware and continue an APT attack.

The reason these techniques are under-reported and not well understood is that in some paid tests, vendors are given the chance to correct for them. As such, only the specific techniques identified are corrected for, and not the broader techniques that are rapidly updated and adapted by criminal organizations.

Respondents whose organizations had experienced a network breach in the past twelve months estimate the average cost to the business to be $931,006.

Australia, which reported a lower number of breaches at 15 percent, indicated a much higher average cost per breach at $1.5 million.

The cost to American respondents also exceeded $1 million on average. The hit to the financial services sector was the hardest, with estimated cost to be over $2 million per breach globally.

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