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May 10, 2017

Studies Illustrate Growing Cybersecurity Threats

A large and growing collection of headlines and reports remind us of the growing cybersecurity problem. Here’s a look at a few statistics and forecasts from some of the latest studies on this front.

The 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon (News - Alert) indicates that:

  • 75 percent of breaches are perpetrated by an outsider,
  • 25 percent are done by internal actors,
  • 18 percent involve state-affiliated actors, and
  • 51 percent include malware.

This study also breaks down the cybersecurity challenge by industry vertical. And it suggests that 24 percent of breaches affect financial organizations, 15 percent impact healthcare, 12 percent target the public sector, and 15 percent are leveled at retail and accommodation.

As anyone with even a passing interest in cybersecurity by now knows, ransomware is a quickly rising threat vector. In fact, Verizon says ransomware went from the twenty-second most common malware in its 2014 report to the fifth most common this year.

“While ransomware dates back to 1989, in the past year? we have seen more technical and process innovation in ransomware than we have seen since the invention of Bitcoin-enabled anonymous payments,” the report comments. “Fueled by the success of early attacks, the number of ransomware incidents increased to 228 in this year’s report from 159 in the 2016 DBIR.”

According to a different cybersecurity publication, the 2017 Annual Threat Report from SonicWall, ransomware was the top threat of 2016. The network security company says ransomware increased by more than 167 times year-over-year to reach 638 million attacks in 2016.

Meanwhile, a Deloitte (News - Alert) study called Ransomware: Holding Your Data Hostage released in June of last year says ransomware is “stealthy, with some recent variants completing their dirty work without making a single call to the Internet. Other variants attempt to eliminate data recovery options by encrypting additional connected drives and network shares, deleting files and system restoration points, or even remaining dormant until after a backup cycle.” And it adds that ransomware enablers include the pay per install business model, malware, downloaders, and payments.

Edited by Alicia Young

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