Security Watch: Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report – sophistication and old techniques come together

Verizon’s “2015 Data Breach Investigations Report,” released today, reveals cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, but that many criminals still rely decades-old techniques such as phishing and hacking.

According to this year’s report, the bulk of the cyberattacks (70 percent) use a combination of these techniques and involve a secondary victim, adding complexity to a breach.

Another area singled out in this year’s report is that many existing vulnerabilities remain open because security patches that have long been available are never implemented. Some of the vulnerabilities are traced to 2007.

As in prior reports, this year’s findings again pointed out what Verizon researchers call the “detection deficit” – the time that elapses between a breach occurring until it’s discovered. In 60 percent of breaches, attackers are able to compromise an organization within minutes.

This year’s report offers an in-depth look at the cybersecurity landscape, including a first-time overview of mobile security, Internet of Things technologies and the financial impact of a breach.

The report indicates that, in general, mobile threats are overblown. In addition, overall, the number of exploited security vulnerabilities across all mobile platforms is negligible.

Verizon security analysts used a new assessment model for gauging the financial impact of a security breach based on the analysis of nearly 200 cyber-liability insurance claims. The model predicts that the cost of a breach involving 10 million records will be between between $2.1 million and $5.2 million 95 percent of the time, and depending on circumstances, could range up to as much as $73.9 million. For breaches with 100 million records, the cost is estimated at between $5 million and $15.6 million (95 percent of the time), and could top out at $199 million.

Verizon security researchers explained that the bulk (96 percent) of the nearly 80,000 security incidents analyzed this year can be traced to nine basic attack patterns that vary from industry to industry.

The nine threat patterns are: miscellaneous errors, such as sending an email to the wrong person; crimeware (various malware aimed at gaining control of systems); insider/privilege misuse; physical theft/loss; Web app attacks; denial-of-service attacks, cyberespionage; point-of-sale intrusions; and payment card skimmers.

Read more: The Real Security Gap: Users

The 2015 report can be downloaded in full here.

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