Many organisations are struggling to keep pace with the changing face of security threats, according to a poll conducted by F5 Networks at Infosecurity Europe 2013 in London.
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Only 10% of security professionals polled said they could describe accurately how DNS reflection attacks work, just weeks after a spat between web hosting company Cyberbunker and anti-spam website Spamhaus led to some of the biggest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to date.
DNS reflection or amplification is a type of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that takes advantage of the fact that a small DNS query can generate a much larger response.
When combined with source address spoofing, an attacker can direct a large volume of network traffic to a target system by initiating relatively small DNS queries.
The poll found that only 11% would be completely confident that the day-to-day operations of their business would not be disrupted, should they be hit by such an attack.
Many respondents reported feeling vulnerable due to the host of modern threats from cyber criminals, hacktivists and hackers.
Some 87% claimed that it is more difficult than ever to secure their business from the threat of cyber attacks, with almost one in four citing the BYOD trend as the major factor.
Others referenced the increasing complexity of threats (20%) and the change to espionage and political motives (14%) as the number one factor in increasing the difficulty in protecting businesses.
The poll revealed other concerns around protecting infrastructure and applications, with 83% of respondents saying they were less than fully confident that their organisation has consistent security and availability policies across their entire IT infrastructure.
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Some 85% acknowledged the risk of wiping personal as well as company data when safeguarding a corporate mobile device following a theft.
“Both the scale and the method of the Spamhaus attacks should have acted as a wake-up call, but the research suggests that many security professionals would still struggle to deal effectively with the new breed of DDoS attacks, and fear the potential impact on their organisation,” said Joakim Sundberg, security solution architect at F5.
“As organisations continue to move their applications to the cloud as a way to increase infrastructure agility and reduce costs, it is vital that they close off any back doors to would-be attackers,” he said.
According to Sundberg, conventional firewalls are failing in the face of increasingly complex internet threats.
More intelligence has to be built into the corporate network to ensure their security can handle the newest threats, he said.
“This includes being able to configure and automate security seamlessly to ensure the entire IT environment is protected, regardless of the mix of on-premise, cloud or hybrid infrastructures,” said Sundberg.