90 per cent of companies say they've been hacked: Survey

Are breaches becoming a statistical certainty for companies?

If it sometimes appears that just about every company is getting hacked these days, that's because they are.

In a new survey ( download .pdf ) of 583 US companies conducted by Ponemon Research on behalf of Juniper Networks, 90 per cent of the respondents said their companies' computers were breached at least once by hackers over the past 12 months.

Nearly 60% reported two or more breaches over the past year. More than 50 per cent said they had little confidence of being able to stave off further attacks over the next 12 months.

Those numbers are significantly higher than similar surveys and suggest that a growing number of enterprises are losing the battle to keep malicious intruders out of their networks. "We expected a majority to say they had experienced a breach," said Johnnie Konstantas, director of product marketing at Juniper.

"But to have 90% saying they had experienced at least one breach and more than 50 per cent saying they had experienced two or more, is mind blowing," she said. It suggests "that a breach has become almost a statistical certainty," these days.

The organizations that participated in the Ponemon survey cut across both the private sector and government and ranged from relatively small entities with less than 500 employees to enterprises with more than 75,000. The online survey was conducted over a five-day period earlier this month.

Roughly half of the respondents blamed resource constraints for their security woes, while about the same number cited network complexity as the primary challenge to implementing security controls.

The Ponemon survey comes at a time when concerns about the ability of companies to fend off sophisticated cyberattacks are growing. Over the past several months, hackers have broken into numerous supposedly secure organizations, such as security firm RSA, Lockheed Martin, Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the International Monetary Fund.

Many of the attacks have involved the use of sophisticated malware and social engineering techniques designed to evade easy detection by conventional security tools.

The attacks have highlighted what analysts say is the growing need for enterprises to implement controls for the quick detection and containment of security breaches. Instead of focusing only on protecting against attacks, companies need to prepare for what comes after a targeted breach .

The survey results suggest that many companies have begun moving in this direction. About 32 per cent of the respondents said their primary security focus was on preventing attacks.

About 16% claimed the primary focus of their security efforts was on quick detection and response to security incidents, while about one out of four respondents said their focus was on aligning security controls with industry best practices.

Jaikumar Vijayan covers data security and privacy issues, financial services security and e-voting for Computerworld. Follow Jaikumar on Twitter at @jaivijayan or subscribe to Jaikumar's RSS feed . His e-mail address is jvijayan@computerworld.com .

Read more about security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags IT industrydata securitysecuritydata protectionjuniper networks

More about etworkInternational Monetary FundJuniperJuniperLockheed MartinRSATopic

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Jaikumar Vijayan

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place