A recent report concluded that the “cybersecurity programs of US organizations do not rival the persistence, tactical skills, and technological prowess of their potential cyber adversaries. Today, common criminals, organized crime rings, and nation-states leverage sophisticated techniques to launch attacks that are highly targeted and very difficult to detect. Particularly worrisome are attacks by tremendously skilled threat actors that attempt to steal highly sensitive—and often very valuable—intellectual property, private communications, and other strategic assets and information.”  The June 2014 report was from a survey of 500 executives from US businesses, law enforcement services, and government agencies, was entitled “US cybercrime: Rising risks, reduced readiness Key findings from the 2014 US State of Cybercrime Survey.”  The US cybercrime report was issued by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and co-sponsored by The CERT® Division of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, CSO magazine, and the United States Secret Service.

The “8 cybersecurity issues that should concern you” in the report were as follows:

  1. Spending with a misaligned strategy isn’t smart. Strategy should be linked to business objectives, with allocation of resources tied to risks.

38% prioritize security investments based on risk and impact to business

17% classify the business value of data

  1. Business partners fly under the security radar.  Recent contractor data leaks and payment card heists have proved that adversaries can and will infiltrate systems via third parties, but most organizations do not address third-party security.

44% have a process for evaluating third parties before launch of business operations

31% include security provisions in contracts with external vendors and suppliers

  1. A missing link in the supply chain.  Flow of data to supply chain partners continues to surge, yet they are not required to comply with privacy and security policies.

27% conduct incident-response planning with supply chain partners

8% have supply chain risk-management capability

  1. Slow moves in mobile security.  Mobile technologies and risks are proliferating but security efforts are not keeping up.

31% have a mobile security strategy

38% encrypt devices

36% employ mobile device management

  1. Failing to assess for threats is risky business.  Organizations typically include cyber risks in enterprise risk-management programs but do not regularly assess threats.

47% perform periodic risk assessments

24% have an objective third party assess their security program

  1. It takes a team to beat a crook.  External collaboration is critical to understanding today’s threats and improving cybersecurity but most don’t work with others.

25% participate in Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs)

15% work with public law enforcement agencies

  1. Got suspicious employee behavior?  Cybersecurity incidents carried out by employees have serious impact, yet are not addressed with the same rigor as external threats like hackers.

49% have a formal plan for responding to insider events

75% handle insider incidents internally without involving legal action or law enforcement

  1. Untrained employees drain revenue.  Employee vulnerabilities are well known, but businesses do not train workers in good cybersecurity hygiene.

20% train on-site first responders to handle potential evidence

76% less is spent on security events when employees are trained, yet 54% do not provide security training for new hires.

Notwithstanding reports of this sort, cybercrime continues to dominate the news, and likely will continue indefinitely.