22 Apr 2011

Cyber attacks against critical infrastructure increase, report says

The amount of cyber attacks against critical infrastructure companies is increasing, according to a report by an internet security company.

Cyber criminals are increasing extortion attempts and malware designed to sabotage systems, like the Stuxnet botnet. The company surveyed 200 IT security executives from oil, gas, electricity, water and sewage services.

A major issue for these companies is that they are not properly responding to the increasing threats. Rather than bolstering security defenses, companies are adopting new technologies without assurances they are protected from cyber attacks.

"Stuxnet changed the game in our awareness," Phyllis Schneck, vice president and chief technology officer for public sector of the security company told CNET in an interview. "Attacks are being developed directly for the capability of creating events on a physical infrastructure."

During the first quarter of 2011, the amount of cyber criminal activity increased 26 percent from the first quarter of 2010. According to a report by a security company, the amount of daily threats reached 73,000 during the first quarter.