More than 30,000 Indian websites were hacked in 2014; 42% of attacks were from foreign governments

A report by Indusface, a provider of application security solutions, highlights several interesting India-centric facts with respect to information security.

Here are some of the key India-centric facts:

  1.  91% of the websites that were tested had SQL Injection vulnerability
  2.   97% were prone to Cross-Site Scripting attacks
  3.  SQL Injection and sensitive information leakage by web application breaches have increased significantly
  4.  185 million active mobile internet users with 243% growth, a platform which is highly vulnerable
  5.  58% attacks are for financial gains and 42% by foreign governments
  6.  155  .GOV and NIC domains were hacked last year
  7.  32,323 public Indian website were hacked in 2014 with 14% Y-o-Y increase

“Attacks on Layer 7 are definitely going to increase primarily because of its public-facing nature. We have already witness giants of the West falling to these breaches and it’s about time to raise the concern bar before something major happens in the subcontinent,” said Venkatesh Sundar, CTO at Indusface.

The Indusface report also also highlights some key points that will help organizations understand the gradual changes in the web application security domain.

These include:

1. Database breach is easier
According to the data that Indusface had collected from more than 2.9 million scans and 4.5 billion ethical hacks, their experts are certain that it’s easier for hackers to infiltrate into the databases. There’re two reasons for it. Firstly, SQLi vulnerability was found on more than 90% of the application, which provides direct access to a database where attackers can read and edit files. Secondly, system administrators rarely know about it. Given that most-medium sized organizations in our country are unable to detect SLQ Injection attacks, there are chances that many of them are bleeding sensitive data without knowledge.

2. Cross-site scripting is abundant
Although XSS is not really one of the most pressing issues for most companies, it is as common as SQLi. Approximately 97% of the tested websites had XSS and chances are that they did not really consider it as a severe issue. However, XSS can cause real problems for businesses by not only putting their servers at risk but also users.

3. Most organizations are not testing their applications
According to the Indusface research team, 7 out of 10 websites are hacked at the application layer, but overemphasis on network security and lack of awareness of application security has made many companies overlook the risks entirely. Most of them do not even know about OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities, and don’t know how they can be used to breach into the system.

4. Application patching is procrastinated
If it isn’t broken, why fix it? Probably one of the primary reasons why most companies overlook application layer vulnerabilities is that these are difficult to fix. E-commerce and other competitive industries have to frequently make changes, where customer experience is their top priority. On the other hand, banking, insurance, and other finance companies aren’t too keen to change things as it involves complete planning and auditing.

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