Sony hack anniversary: More cyberattacks on media & bigger security budgets – survey

© Fred Prouser
Media executives say that since the cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment a year ago, they’ve noticed an increase in hacks both external and internally, according to a survey conducted by the auditor PwC.

The survey results, published by Variety, arrive in the lead-up to the one-year anniversary of the Sony hack, which led to the release of confidential data including staff emails and executive salaries, as well as the piracy of movies.

The Global State of Information Security Survey, conducted in May and June of this year, inquired about the experiences of 319 media executives worldwide.

Media executives said cyberattacks come from both inside and outside their companies, and 46 percent said they had been subject to a cyberattack over the past year by third parties. The hacks often targeted digital media in advance of a major launch, such as a theatrical or DVD release. In the previous year, only 29 percent said they had been targeted by such attacks.

Security incidents jumped almost 20 percent, to a new record of over 6,000 incidents, during a 12-month period, the survey found. Executives said potential attackers were terrorists, members of organized crime, competitors, and “foreign nation-states.”

Executives also said the threats are not just external. Forty-five percent said they had employees who had stolen digital content prior to a major launch window, up from 38 percent in 2014. Thirty-seven percent said vendors had hacked digital content prior to a major launch window, up six percent from the previous survey.

The evidence of hacking theft has caused executives to increase spending on security, with budgets growing by almost $1 million. They said that investment has paid off, as financial losses from security hacks dropped from $2.3 million to $1.9 million.

The Sony hack was considered an industry game changer.

“It has dramatically raised the importance and visibility of cybersecurity in the media. There’s no question of that,” Mark Lobel, principal of PwC’s entertainment division, told Variety.

Additional findings revealed that 26 percent of media executives felt less confident in their ability to protect customer information, up from 12 percent the year before.

There was one positive result, however. Executives said they had gained access to better data on security threats through Big Data, which allows them to detect patterns too complicated to find manually. Forty-nine percent said it had improved their understanding of external threats, 29 percent found it useful for providing advance warning of cyber incidents, and 10 percent found it useful for improved forensic investigation.

Lobel told Variety that even after a major hack like Sony’s, it “still takes time to put the controls in place.”