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Retailers feel the pain as web apps face constant attacks

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Retailers experience more than twice the number of SQL injection attacks than other industries.

According to the Imperva web application attack report, these attacks were more intense, both in terms of the number of attacks per incident and the duration of each incident. It found that retail applications received an average of 749 individual attack requests per attack campaign.

Speaking to SC Magazine, Tal Be'ery, web research team leader at Imperva, said that often these attacks are achieved due to financial services companies having better security technology.

He said: “Attacks are driven by economically-motivated attackers and the victim tries to detect and block them. I think if you have an online presence you will be attacked and an attacker will focus on whatever they can.”

The report also found that a single website received 94,057 SQL injection attack requests in one day, while most web applications that it monitored receive four or more attacks per month, and a typical application experienced attacks on 12 days of every month.

Be'ery said that on average what is seen will not be spread across a time frame, but more part of a sustained campaign. “One of the actions learned from the report for the CISO is that if you want to create a simulation of the attack, you need to know the right decision for security and test against it,” he said.

The worst attack scenario saw 176 days under attack in six months - meaning the application suffered attacks almost every day within this time period, with one attacked on average as many as 26 times per minute. Additionally, while a typical attack incident lasted around five minutes, the worst-case incident was about 100 times longer, lasting more than 15 hours.

Amichai Shulman, CTO, Imperva, said: “While these findings undeniably demonstrate that web application attacks are far from consistently distributed, the takeaway is that organisations should base security measures on the worst case scenario, not on the average case.”

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