Phishing and pretexting represent 93% of social attack-based breaches

top-internal-and-external-breachesA good article in Forbes that takes another dive into the new 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.

Verizon finds there has been over 53,000 incidents and 2,216 confirmed data breaches this year.

They define a breach as an incident that results in a confirmed disclosure of data by an unauthorized actor, while incidents are a security event that compromises the integrity, confidentiality or availability of an information asset.

It slices & dices the data into a nice executive summary:

  • Organized crime organizations are behind 62% of external actor-based breaches.
  • 76% of breaches are financially motivated, and 68% took months or longer to discover.
  • 58% of security breach victims are small businesses, the largest segment overall.
  • Healthcare, Accommodation, Public Administration, Retail, and Finance are the top five industries experience the most breaches today.
  • Cyber-Espionage and the stealing of valuable intellectual property drive 47% of all manufacturing IT breaches.

Email continues to be the most common attack vector 

Email continues to be the most common vector (96%) for launching social engineering attacks, with 99% of the actors being external to organizations. 59% of phishing and pretexting attacks are motivated by financial gain, with an additional 38% motivated by corporate espionage (multiple responses were allowed in the survey and please see the results for additional details).

Verizon found that motives for phishing attacks alone are divided between the opportunity for financial gain (59%) and espionage (41%).

The study makes a great point that phishing is relied on as the lead action or strategy of a more expanded attack that is followed by malware installation and further actions to attain greater exfiltration of data.

The study found that 78% of people didn’t click a single phish all year, highlighting the effectiveness of internal firewalls and ongoing security awareness training. Social breaches are gaining access to personal data the majority of the time (47.2%) followed by proprietary company IP or secrets (25.9%), and credentials (16.8%) which are used to launch compromised credential attacks.


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Did you know that 91% of successful data breaches started with a spear phishing attack?

Cyber-attacks are rapidly getting more sophisticated. We help you train your employees to better manage the urgent IT security problems of social engineering, spear-phishing and ransomware attacks. Take the first step now. Find out what percentage of your employees are Phish-prone with our new, improved free test. 

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Topics: Phishing

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