cyber crime

Verizon reports 5,258 data breaches from 83 contributors worldwide in its 2021 report, a jump of more than one-third over the previous report. The service provider suggests that the uptick was the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Verizon Business 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (2021 DBIR) found that the median financial impact of a breach is $21,659 and that the impact of 95% of breaches is between $826 and $653,587.

The DBIR found that phishing attacks increased by 11% and ransomware attacks by 6%. Misrepresentation increased by 15 times. The 2021 DBIR says that 61% of breaches involved credential data. The 95% of organizations that were subject to credential stuffing attacks had between 637 and 3.3 billion malicious login attempts.

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Web application attacks – which Verizon Business associates with the relocation of business functions to the cloud – constituted 39% of all breaches.

The DBIR provides industry-specific and regional analyses. Attacks are highly specific. For instance, 83% of data compromised in breaches in the financial and insurance industries was personal, while only 49% was personal in professional, scientific and technical services.

Regional trends also were diversified. Phishing was a major cause of breaches in the Asia Pacific region while basic Web application attacks, system intrusion and social engineering was a continuing threat in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In North America, financial attacks using social engineering, hacking and malware were favored hacker tools.

Verizon says that the incident classification patterns used to classify security threats in the DBIR have been “improved and refreshed.” They now represent 95.8% of analyzed breaches and 99.7% of analyzed incidents over time.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on many of the security challenges organizations are currently facing,” Tami Erwin, CEO, Verizon Business said in a press release. “As the number of companies switching business-critical functions to the cloud increases, the potential threat to their operations may become more pronounced, as malicious actors look to exploit human vulnerabilities and leverage an increased dependency on digital infrastructures”.

The DBIR, which combines cyber threat intelligence from the carrier’s Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) and cyber-situational awareness from the Verizon Threat Research Advisory Center, was introduced in June 2018.

Ransomware burst into the forefront of public awareness this week with the attack on the Colonial Pipeline. The five-day outage, which led to panic buying and gas shortages, ended on Wednesday.

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