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The No. 1 business targeted by hackers

Posting in Energy

Hackers have received a lot of attention lately for their attacks on media companies, banks and other businesses. But that's not even their primary target, according to a report released this week.

Energy companies dealt with more targeted malware attacks over a six-month period last year than businesses in any other industry, according to a report by Houston-based network security firm Alert Logic. The report focuses on activity monitored among Alert Logic's customers from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2012. The company had 1,801 customers at the time of the study.

The State of the Cloud Security Report, first reported on by the Houston Chronicle, said 61 percent of the 54 energy companies that Alert Logic serves experienced targeted malware attacks and 67 percent received brute force attacks. Brute force attacks is a relatively unsophisticated and common method used by hackers who try a series of passwords to break into a system.

The industry's high profile makes it a frequent target of hacktivists, the report said.

Other highlights of the report:

  • web application attacks are the most significant security threat for IT infrastructures (for all industries)
  • during the six-month study period, Alert Logic observed more than one billion security events and verified more than 45,000 security incidents as valid threats;
  • 48 percent of Alert Logic's customers were impacted by verified web application attacks across all customer environments, such as cloud hosting providers (CHP) and enterprise data center, where customers own and manage their own IT infrastructure;
  • cloud hosting provider environments typically face a narrower range of threats/ Customers using enterprise data center environments experienced 2.5 types of incidents, compared to 1.8 types of incidents experienced by CHP.

Photo: Stock.xchng user flaivloka

    — By on March 27, 2013, 1:47 AM PST

    Kirsten Korosec

    Contributing Editor

    Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure