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Global information security incidents soar: PwC

Updated: 2013-12-12 15:54
By Hu Yuanyuan (

Global information security breaches are on the increase and the cost of fixing them is rising, according to PwC's latest Global State of Information Security Survey.

Though Chinese companies score well for the safeguards they have in place, they still need to improve, according to the survey.

The proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace and the risks they bring means there is no room for complacency, it said.

Globally, the number of security incidents detected has increased by 25 percent year-on-year. The number varies by industry — Financial Services has seen a 170 percent increase.

Asia-Pacific has now overtaken Europe on this measure, with more than 2,500 incidents reported by companies in the region. The number of respondents who reported they do not know how many incidents have occurred has also increased.

Chinese respondents to the survey have confidence in their ability to fend off attacks — two-thirds consider themselves ahead of the pack in strategy and security practices, compared to an average of 50 percent globally. But detailed analysis of responses shows that only 23 percent qualify as leaders in this area. This is still better than the global average of 17 percent, but China is under increased pressure from security incidents.

"As the Chinese economy grows and becomes more global, individual companies will come under closer scrutiny by those seeking to exploit weaknesses," says Samuel Sinn, Risk Assurance Partner at PwC China.

"As businesses expand they will have to play catch-up with a growing number of threats. But they also need to strike a balance between security governance, processes and technology."

Insiders — be they employees or vendors — are seen as a likely source of security breaches by all respondents, and far more so than terrorists or foreign governments. This view is most pronounced in Chinese companies — 41 percent see former employees as a likely source of incidents, compared to 27 percent worldwide.

Competitors are also a much greater cause of concern in China — 40 percent see them as a source of incidents, compared to 14 percent globally.

Whatever the source of security breaches, the cost of responding to such incidents is rising steeply — up by 18 percent globally and by 28 percent in Asia-Pacific.

The average loss for the year caused by such incidents reported by Chinese companies in 2013 totals $1.8 million, according to the survey.