Many CISOs Blame Cyberattack Surge on Remote Working: VMware

Cybersecurity professionals have seen a surge in cyberattacks in the past year, and many blamed the trend on more employees working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report published on Thursday by VMware.

VMware’s 2021 Global Security Insights Report is based on a survey of more than 3,500 CISOs, CTOs and CIOs conducted in December 2020. Respondents are collectively referred to as cybersecurity professionals or CISOs in the VMware report.

Roughly three-quarters of respondents reported seeing an increase in attacks in the past year, and 78% of them said it was due to remote working. Moreover, 79% of respondents said cyberattacks had become more sophisticated.

Over 80% of organizations admitted being breached in the past year — on average, they experienced more than 2 breaches per year — and in more than 80% of cases the incident was serious enough to require reporting to regulators or the involvement of incident response teams. Furthermore, 75% of those that suffered an attack reported some sort of negative impact on reputation.

The surveyed professionals named third-party apps, ransomware, outdated security technology and process weaknesses as the main cause of breaches.

As for their plans for 2021, a vast majority of CISOs said they already have or plan on adopting a cloud-first security strategy. Many said they are increasing budgets to build more security into their assets, update security technology, and update security policies and their risk mitigation approach.

When it comes to the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, more than half of respondents said security concerns are holding them back from adopting these types of technologies.

VMware has released a global report, as well as regional reports for the United States, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Nordic countries, Japan, Australia, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.

The global report also draws some comparisons between the data in the regional reports. For example, 56% of respondents are concerned about being hit by a material breach in the next 12 months. The percentage is 74% in France and only 37% in the Netherlands.

Related: CISO Conversations: Raytheon and BAE Systems CISOs on Leadership, Future Threats

Related: CISO Conversations: Mastercard, Ellie Mae Security Chiefs Discuss the People Problem

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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