State-sponsored attacks a growing enterprise menace

Malware propagated by profit-oriented cyber criminals still account for the lion’s share of security threats to businesses but lately state-sponsored attackers have been zeroing in on large enterprises, according to security software maker Kaspersky Labs.

At the Kaspersky Cyber-Security Summit 2013 on Wednesday, Costin Raiu, director of global research for the company cited the high-level cyber espionage campaign of the Red October ring as an example. The organization is credited for breaking into computers and networks of governments, scientific organizations and businesses around the world for the last five years.

Malware such as Stuxnet, Flame and Gauss are just some of the threats that have been associated with state-sponsored attacks. State-back cyber-espionage operations are often better funded compared to their private sector counterparts and enjoy government protection.

“We are now discovering malware that has been active for as long as 10 years,” Raiu was quoted in a recent Computerworld.com report. “No anti-virus company has figured out how Flame work”

“There are so many codes, so many subroutines, so much obfuscation and encryption that you need a lot of super high-talented people…to understand it,” he said.

A day, after Raiu made his pronouncement, the New York Times reported that its computers had been infiltrated by China-based hackers using techniques developed by the Chinese military.

Much earlier, the American oil company Chevron reported that its systems were attacked by the Stuxnet virus

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