July 11, 2017 By Shane Schick 2 min read

Critical U.S. infrastructure will be hit by a major cyberattack in the next two years, according to a survey of experts who attended the annual Black Hat security conference in the last two years.

Published just a few weeks before this year’s Black Hat event in Las Vegas, the survey, titled “Portrait of an Imminent Cyberthreat,” showed that only 26 percent of respondents believe U.S. infrastructure will be adequately protected by government and defense forces.

The nearly 600 security experts polled also reported concerns about the vulnerability of their own organizations. Two-thirds said they expect to be hit by a data breach in the next year, and 70 percent reported that staffing limitations will make it difficult to respond to a security incident. Meanwhile, 60 percent said their budgets aren’t keeping pace with the increasing sophistication of attacks.

US Infrastructure Vulnerable to Classic Scams

While it’s impossible to predict precisely how threat actors might strike U.S. infrastructure, 50 percent of those surveyed indicated that they were most concerned about social engineering and phishing schemes that dupe users into handing over access credentials. While the recent WannaCry and NotPetya attacks have made huge headlines recently, Black Hat attendees had already pegged ransomware as the fastest-rising threat.

Of course, there are plenty of established products and services to fend off cyberattacks, but the survey participants recognized the need for greater customization in their threat mitigation strategies. Sixty-one percent said corporations should fend off fraudsters with their own specialized online defenses. That’s probably because 45 percent reported that attacks are becoming more targeted at specific firms and pieces of U.S. infrastructure than ever before.

Conventional Wisdom Confirmed

Some of the report’s findings confirmed conventional wisdom about enterprise security. For example, 38 percent cited their own employees as a major weak spot in protecting information, while 39 percent suggested that insider threats may be more dangerous than third parties targeting U.S. infrastructure.

Perhaps the biggest worry, according to SDxCentral, is the gap between IT and management when it comes to the potential severity of cyberattacks. While compliance issues may remain top of mind for boards and CEOs, for instance, technology professionals want them to pay greater attention to data breaches.

You can be sure that topic, as well as other data points included in this survey, will generate at lot of buzz at the upcoming Black Hat conference.

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