Verizon’s Data Breach Report Shows Ransomware Is A Top Security Threat


Ransomware continues to be a top cybersecurity threat, according to Verizon’s latest Data Breach Investigation Report. Ransomware is found in almost 39 percent of malware attacks – double that of last year’s analysis.

“Ransomware remains a significant threat for companies of all sizes,” says Bryan Sartin, executive director security professional services, Verizon. “It is now the most prevalent form of malware, and its use has increased significantly over recent years.”

These data will come as no surprise to many city and state officials that have battled with ransomware takeovers recently. Systems in the city of Atlanta were offline for several days last month following a ransomware attack. Government offices and municipal systems have also been targeted in Baltimore, North Carolina, and San Francisco.

DBIR analysis also flags a shift in how social attacks, such as financial pretexting and phishing, are used. Attacks such as these, which continue to infiltrate organizations via employees, are now increasingly a departmental issue. The report shows that Human Resource (HR) departments across multiple verticals are now being targeted in a bid to extract employee wage and tax data, so criminals can commit tax fraud and divert tax rebates.

Report data also shows that attacks on public sector organizations continue to be focused on espionage. 43 percent of public sector attacks were motivated by espionage. Of those attacks, 61 percent were carried out by state-affiliated actors. Privilege misuse and error by insiders account for a third of breaches.

Over 50% of the attacks on public sector organizations were accomplished using backdoors in software, which arguably makes the case for why putting backdoors in software is a bad idea even if a government plans to use it for its own purposes. Using phishing techniques to get data from individuals remains the most popular method as individuals continue to be the weakest link when it comes to security.

The full report is available here.