Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report finds cybercriminals are exploiting human nature
In order to have a healthy tech sector, it’s critical that tech companies take security seriously. Cyber criminals are continuing to exploit human nature as they rely on familiar attack patterns such as phishing, and increase their reliance on ransomware, where data is encrypted and a ransom is demanded, finds the Verizon 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report.
This year’s report highlights repeating themes from prior year’s findings and storylines that continue to play off of human nature, including:
• 89 percent of all attacks involve financial or espionage motivations.
• Most attacks exploit known vulnerabilities that have never been patched despite patches being available for months, or even years. In fact, the top 10 known vulnerabilities accounted for 85 percent of successful exploits.
• 63 percent of confirmed data breaches involve using weak, default or stolen passwords.
• 95 percent of breaches and 86 percent of security incidents fall into nine patterns.
• Ransomware attacks increased by 16 percent over 2015 findings.
• Basic defenses continue to be sorely lacking in many organizations.
“The Data Breach Investigations Report’s increasing importance to businesses, law enforcement and governmental agencies demonstrates a strong desire to stay ahead of cyber crime,” said Chris Formant, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
Phishing tops the list of increasing concerns
One area that has picked up dramatically over the prior year is phishing i.e. where end users receive an email from a fraudulent source. Alarmingly, 30 percent of phishing messages were opened – up from 23 percent in the 2015 report – and 13 percent of those clicked to open the malicious attachment or nefarious link.
The rise of the three-pronged attack
This year’s report calls out the rise of a new three-pronged attack that is being repeated over and over again by cyber criminals. Many organizations are falling prey to this type of attack. The three-prongs are:
• Sending a phishing email with a link pointing to the malicious website, or a malicious attachment.
• Malware is downloaded onto an individual’s PC that establishes the initial foothold, and additional malware can be used to look for secrets and internal information to steal (cyberespionage) or encrypt files for ransom. Many times the malware steals credentials to multiple applications through key logging.
• Use of the credentials for further attacks, for example, to log into third-party websites like banking or retail sites.
2016 report reiterates the need for the basics
The researchers note that basic, well-executed measures continue to be more important than complex systems. Organizations should check to make sure they are taking care of these things:
• Know what attack patterns are most common for your industry.
• Utilize two-factor authentication for your systems and other applications, such as popular social networking sites.
• Patch promptly.
• Monitor all inputs: Review all logs to help identify malicious activity.
• Encrypt your data: If stolen devices are encrypted, it’s much harder for attackers to access the data.
• Train your staff: Developing security awareness within your organization is critical especially with the rise in phishing attacks.
• Know your data and protect it accordingly. Also limit who has access to it.
Download the report
The full “2016 Data Breach Investigations Report,” high-resolution charts and additional resources supporting the research are available on the DBIR Media Resource Center. For more information, visit us at http://www.verizonenterprise.com/solutions/security/