Friday, 8 October 2010

The Web Hacking Incident Database 2010

The Web Hacking Incident Database 2010 part year results have just been published WHID 2010 , while the statistics are based on a limited population it does represent the tip of the iceberg of a much larger issue. Many incidents will go unreported to the wider public for many reasons, some due to commercial decisions and others because the organisation is not even aware they have been compromised.

So what are the key points from this report and our take on what this means?


  • "A steep rise in attacks against the financial vertical market is occurring in 2010."

The report highlights that this is in fact against users and not the financial institutions directly, by attacking end points to obtain customer account details and then using the credentials to move money away.


  • "Banking Trojans (which result in stolen authentication credentials) made the largest jump for attack methods."

This finding goes hand in hand with the first point raised about the targeting of the financial sector. The use of Trojans have been a well established route for cyber criminals to gain access to sensitive information, the change here is in the organised element of on-line crime. With global networks and the use of mules (individuals solicited to aid extraction and movement of money from accounts) they are now able to use the stolen credentials to cash out with large amounts of money. The Zeus Trojan is a recent example of this escalation with 37 people arrested and charged with being members of an international crime ring that stole $3 million.
Attacks against financial institutions do happen and some are successful, the parallel between client side attacks and direct attacks is seen in the use of globally coordinated use of mules to cash out.


  • "Application downtime, often due to denial of service attacks, is a rising outcome."

Interesting finding and sits within our view that you need to have a resilient approach to security. A good statistic here would have been a comparison against actual downtime and any 'Recovery Time Objectives' that an organisation should have as part of its business continuity plans. Are organisations resilient enough to meet their business objectives or not?


  • "Organizations have not implemented proper Web application logging mechanisms and thus are unable to conduct proper incident response to identify and correct vulnerabilities."

This echoes one of the core principles around a resilient approach to security that we outlined at OWASP Dublin 2010 about the need to be able to effectively detect and react to an attack.
We will continue to look at the world of security resilience in further posts.

All in all, concise points and clear graphics makes this a good read and well worth a view. If you liked the WHID then head over to the Verizon 2010 report which draws upon a wider population for its statistical analysis.



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