Study: State-sponsored attacks worsen, but security pros unequipped to spot threat

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A majority of IT security professionals said they were unsure whether their own corporate networks had fallen victim to state-sponsored attackers.

According to a new survey released by Los Angeles-based Lieberman Software, 74 percent of respondents were hesitant to say their organization hadn't been breached by attackers dispatched by foreign governments.

Furthermore, 96 percent of respondents believed that the threat landscape for these kinds of advanced attacks would get worse over time.

Released Wednesday, the study called the “2013 Survey of Information Security Professionals: Defending State-Sponsored Attacks and Other Advanced Persistent Threats,” polled nearly 200 individuals in senior IT security positions who attended the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, which convened from July 27 through Aug. 1.

In addition to sharing personal concerns about state-sponsored attacks, 53 percent of respondents said that their IT staff would not be able to detect the presence of an attacker who attempted to breach their network or steal private data.

Two weeks ago, researchers at FireEye highlighted how ongoing espionage campaigns, which they believed were launched from China, continued to make use of the remote access trojan (RAT) Poison Ivy. Despite the fact that the "garden-variety" RAT has been around for nearly a decade, researchers still have a hard time tracing Poison Ivy attacks to advanced persistent threat (APT) activity precisely because of its widespread use, the firm said.

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