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Financial services organisations take 100 days to identify cyber threats

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The average time span it takes to identify these attacks is 98 days for financial services organisations. (Image Source:

Although financial services organisation are well aware that they are the targets of serious and advanced security threats, they struggle to identify attacks once they are inside their network. This is according to a new Ponemon Institute Survey.

Known as “dwell” time, the average time span it takes to identify these attacks is 98 days for financial services organisations. According to survey, despite these results, 58 percent of financial services organisations said they are not optimistic about their ability to improve these findings in the coming year.

This is alarming considering the number of attacks targeting their networks – 83 percent experienced more than 50 attacks per month.

“The big takeaway from our research is that more investment is needed in both security operations staff and in security tools, which can help companies efficiently and accurately detect and respond to security incidents,” said Dr Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute. “The time to detect an advanced threat is far too long; attackers are getting in and staying long enough that the damage caused is often irreparable.”

“It’s time to find a better balance between technology solutions, usability, workflow and the people who use them. As security vendors, we need to help our customers so they can adapt to this new cyber security reality that balances the threats with the people who fight them every day,” added Bryan Hamman, territory manager for sub-Saharan Africa at Arbor Networks.

In the wake of high profile mega breaches, the Ponemon Institute, surveyed financial services organisations in North America and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) to better understand how they are dealing with attacks targeting their organisations.

The survey asked how organisations manage the explosion in advanced threats and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks targeting their infrastructure; how effective (or not) their IT investments are; and how they are adapting incident response procedures and integrating threat intelligence for better visibility, insight and context.

Key findings among the financial services organisation surveyed are:

Advanced threats
71 percent view technologies that provide intelligence about networks and traffic as most promising at stopping or minimising advance threats during the seven phases of the Kill Chain; 45 percent have implemented incident response procedures; and 43 percent have established threat sharing with other companies or government entities.

DDoS attacks
55 percent consider DDoS attacks as an advanced threat; 48 percent “Strongly Agree” or “Agree” that they are effective in containing DDoS attacks; and 45 percent have established threat sharing with other companies or government entities to minimise or contain the impact of DDoS attacks.

Budgets and staffing
40 percent of budgets are allocated towards technology; 37 percent to staffing and 20 percent to managed services.

The financial services organisations surveyed included 844 IT and IT security practitioners in North America and in 14 countries in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) – only IT practitioners who are familiar with their companies’ defense against cyber security attacks and have responsibility for directing cyber security activities within the company were selected to take part.

Staff Writer

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