Malicious Attacks
AT&T's network and customers are under constant attack

Each day the company detects over 30 billion malicious attacks and scans probing for a weakness in its network defense

AT&T, the biggest ISP globally published that its network is persistently being attacked, with 30bn-and-more malicious attacks occurring daily. According to Vice-President for Security Solutions Jason Porter at AT&T, the majority of these malicious attacks are investigative campaigns where cyber criminals hunt to find feeble entry points. AT&T was able to stop only 5bn of the malicious attacks during 2015, or fends off 200,000 malware attacks daily.

Of the 30 billion malicious attacks detected daily by AT&T, five billion are aimed at its own network which has the necessary security measures in place to fend off such attacks. In addition to these scans, the company also blocks over 200,000 malware attacks each day and detects around 400 million spam messages.

The attacks happen in an astounding number; however, the majority is connected to scripts, implying that the attacks show an immense scale of automation.

The AT&T security report indicates that 62% of enterprises suffered a data hack, with 42% of them stating they had a “significant” adverse effect on their organizations, especially their infrastructure.  Big-sized organizations reported they suffered downtime for a whole 23-hrs in 2015, while for medium-scale organizations it was 14-hrs-or-so. Consequently, the total downtime resulted in forgone earnings counting to millions.

Incident response plan

As companies grow bigger, the importance of the incident response plan (IRP) increases, chiefly because such companies establish procedures which must get practiced immediately when a cyber-assault is spotted while data-theft or prolonged downtime are avoided. The IRP means the stages of actions taken towards not just DDoS assaults alternatively data-hacks, but as well towards more mundane mishaps such as lost data drive alternatively malicious attacks, including attacks from ransomware.

Simultaneously, AT&T stated it was necessary to regularly test IRPs in order that every party connected to them had a lucid idea regarding its individual responsibilities and roles. Again the mentioned responsibilities/roles should get strengthened via routine tabletop testing as well as other simulations in order to eliminate uncertainties and guesswork capable of creating chaos.

By revealing how many cyber attacks it deals with on a daily basis, AT&T may help other telecoms and businesses realize the damage that cybercriminals could do to their organizations, with John Porter noting that a mere hour or two of downtime could have far reaching consequences and may even result in “millions of dollars lost”.

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