Verizon joins Lockheed Martin Cyber Security Alliance to focus on public sector threats

The telco, which provides communications infrastructure for some of the largest government entities, along with security services, cloud computing and data center capacity, will contribute its expertise in working with the public sector to guide threat detection and defense methodologies for the Alliance.

"With its use of technology, broad industry knowledge, and solid portfolio of cyber security solutions, we are pleased to welcome Verizon to the Lockheed Martin Cyber Security Alliance," said Curt Aubley, vice president and CTO at the defense contractor’s NexGen Cyber Innovation and Technology Center. "Through close collaboration with the other Alliance members, we will work with Verizon to explore and identify emerging network defense capabilities to support customers in both government and commercial areas."

Verizon will also leverage insights gained from the annual Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), which taps the knowledge bases of various government entities around the world, including the US Secret Service, the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit, the Australian Federal Police, the Irish Reporting & Information Security Service and the Police Central eCrimes Unit London Metropolitan Police.

“These organizations have broadened the scope of the DBIR tremendously with regard to data breaches around the globe,” Verizon authors said. “We heartily thank them all for their spirit of cooperation, and sincerely hope this report serves to increase awareness of cybercrime, as well as our collective ability to fight it.

The 2012 report examines 2011 trends and found that last year was most certainly the year of the data breach. There were 855 data breaches involving 174 million stolen records in 2011, the second-highest data loss that Verizon has seen since it began collecting data in 2004. This compares with only 4 million records stolen in 2010.

The most commonly used method for breaches was exploiting default or guessable credentials (29%), followed by backdoor malware (26%), use of stolen login credentials (24%), exploitation of backdoor or command and control channels (23%), and keyloggers and spyware (18%), while SQL injection attacks accounted for 13% of the breaches.

A whopping 90% of 2011 breaches involved the compromise of a server.

But the overarching trend was the rise of hacktivism as a responsible agent. “Hacktivists accounted for 58% of the records stolen; this is an enormous quantity,” noted Jay Jacobs, a principal on the Verizon RISK Intelligence Team, especially since hacktivists only accounted for 2% in terms of the number of data breaches.

That trend contrasts sharply with the data breach pattern of the past several years, during which the majority of attacks were carried out by cybercriminals whose primary motivation was financial gain, Verizon found. Going forward, it is likely that cyber-espionage and hacktivism will continue to be a notable trend, considering the rise of Anonymous and the spate of politically motivated hacks in the Middle East, among other headline-grabbing phenomena.

“The threats posed by cyber crime are very real and impact every person and organization across the United States and around the world,” said Susan Zeleniak, senior vice president for public sector markets at Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “By working together through organizations such as the Lockheed Martin Cyber Security Alliance, we can identify common-sense solutions to combat these threats and help ensure the integrity of critical data, applications and systems."

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