Critical Read

Cybercrime survey points to heightened concerns

Shutterstock image (by Pavel Ignatov): Alert icon.

What: "2015 US State of Cybercrime Survey," based on responses from more than 500 executives in the public and private sectors, conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, CSO Magazine, the CERT Division of the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and the Secret Service.

Why: The study found that 76 percent of respondents were more concerned about cybersecurity threats this year than in the previous 12 months, but a lack of urgency for federally inspired information sharing efforts among potentially affected industries.

The percent overall concern figure jumped considerably from the previous year's 59 percent, according to the study, which said the most-frequently cited types of compromise were typically crimes committed by external threat actors, not employees or third-party partners with trusted access to networks and data. It said there was particular concern over phishing campaigns, with 31 percent of respondents saying they had been hit by a phishing attack in 2014.

But the study found an "underwhelming level of participation" among industry-specific Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs), entities established by Critical Infrastructure Key Resource owners and operators to provide sector analysis, which is shared within the sector, with other sectors, and with government.

According to the survey, only 25 percent of respondents said they were involved in ISACs in 2014--virtually the same number as the year before.

The study covered 2014, however, preceding President Barack Obama’s February 2015 executive order calling for the creation of new Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs). That mandate, said the study, "is clearly fueling the discussion" over increased threat information sharing.

Verbatim: "Unlike today’s industry-specific ISACs, membership in ISAOs will be more flexible, enabling businesses and public-sector agencies to share information specific to individual industries as well as intelligence related to geographies, issues, events, or threats."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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