Nearly a third of UK organisations have critical vulnerabilities that are widely recognised and actively exploited by hackers, according to new research by NTA Monitor.The annual report revealed that despite a drop in the number of firms with critical flaws, 61 per cent were found to have unpatched bugs in 2006, a third of companies are failing to protect their corporate networks from online threats compromising IT security.
The study analyses data gathered from vulnerability tests conducted by NTA on UK companies in a wide range of industry sectors, including finance, government, IT, law, retail, charities and education.
Whilst overall security appears to have improved, the financial and publishing sectors have seen an increase in the average number of vulnerabilities found during testing, according to the report. The average number of risk increased by 16 per cent year on year for financial institutions, whilst publishing saw a rise of 28 per cent.
“[The testing found that] there are a variety of ways of causing Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, one of which occurs when a server is bombarded with more information that it can handle, resulting in legitimate users being unable to access or use the network,” said Roy Hills, technical director at NTA Monitor. “Other security flaws that our testing discovered could permit hackers to gain entry to corporate networks and change users’ passwords or delete files, which could wreak corporate havoc.”