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Black Hat has published its third annual research report, based on survey responses from nearly 600 Black Hat USA attendees. Entitled ‘Portrait of an Imminent Cyber Threat’ the report raises concerns about potential future threats to the US’s critical infrastructure.

The survey results offer a gloomy picture of tomorrow’s cyber defences / defences, which are being increasingly tested by sophisticated hacking and social engineering exploits, including ransomware worms and nation-state-sponsored hacks.

The survey sends a warning message from experienced IT security professionals that successful cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and business could be imminent, but defenders do not have the resources and training they need to efficiently respond.

Key findings include:

  • 60 percent of respondents believe that a successful cyber attack on US critical infrastructure will occur in the next two years. Only 26 percent are confident that US government and defense forces are equipped and trained to respond appropriately.
  • 69 percent of IT security professionals believe that state-sponsored hacking from countries such as Russia and China has made US enterprise data less secure.
  • Only 26 percent of information security pros believe that the new White House administration will have a positive impact on cybersecurity policy, regulation, and law enforcement over the next four years.
  • About two-thirds of respondents think it’s likely that their own organizations will have to respond to a major security breach in the next 12 months. 69 percent say they don’t have enough staff to meet the threat; 58 percent believe they don’t have adequate budgets.
  • IT security professionals’ greatest concerns are around phishing and social engineering (50 percent) and sophisticated attacks targeted directly at their own organizations (45 percent).
  • The increased use of ransomware remains the most serious new threat faced by cybersecurity professionals, cited by 36 percent of respondents.

Read the report (PDF).

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