Priority-based patching extending lifespan of outdated equipment: Dimension Data

Recent equipment refreshes have not prevented Australia’s network infrastructure from being vulnerable to failure and security breaches, a new study has warned.

Dimension Data’s 2015 Worldwide Network Barometer found that 48 per cent of Australia’s network equipment is so old that it is no longer eligible for security patches – while a further 67 per cent carry at least one security vulnerability.

Although Australia’s network infrastructure was “still quite exposed”, Paul O'Donohoe, networks general manager with Dimension Data, said that local organisations had moved with the world in implementing more targeted network investment strategies since the global financial crisis.

This approach had seen organisations minimise network operation costs by dealing with vulnerabilities and patching on a case-by-case basis, rather than attempting to enforce standard approaches across all of their infrastructure.

Although Australian companies were hit “quite substantially less than the rest of the world,” O'Donohoe said, “there’s been a change in behaviour. Networks now are a business enablement tool rather than just a compliance engine – and so now companies are now only really investing where the need is, rather than to make sure it’s standard across the entire network.

This approach had driven many companies to extend the life of their assets as long as possible, rather than upgrading them.

“Over the last couple of years we've seen an acceptance to sweat the asset rather than make sure they’re all up to the latest specification,” O'Donohoe said. “However, over the last 12 months we’ve seen more and more change inside the (network) environment based on the need for business agility.”

The strategy was expected to improve network resilience – however, it’s not clear how well it has worked.

NTT Group’s 2014 global threat intelligence report, released last month, found that 76 per cent of vulnerabilities detected in organisations were at least two years old while 9 per cent were at least 10 years old.

Given that study only dealt with vulnerabilities carrying high threat scores, NTT Group wrote that the finding “should be cause for significant concern about the effectiveness of patch management solutions”.

Banks and other financial institutions continued to be the industry sector most frequently targeted by hackers, accounting for nearly 18 per cent of all attacks NTT Group's analysis detected in 2014.

Attacks against professional services were on the rise.

There was a bright spot for organisations, with NTT Group finding that number of DDoS attacks it was called to respond to fell to 18 per cent in 2014 – nine per cent less than 2013.

Yet any relief may be short-lived: responses to malware threats increased by the same margin, to account for 52 per cent of incidents. This suggests that attackers are changing their attack patterns rather than reducing them.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Feeling social? Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn Now!

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Paul O’Donohoesecurity breachesvulnerablebarometernetwork infrastructuredimension datasecurity vulnerability

More about CSODimension DataEnex TestLabTwitter

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Andrew Colley

Latest Videos

  • 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

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place