Ransomware Attacks Increasing at "Alarming" Rate

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Ransomware breaches have increased by 13% – more than the last five years combined – according to a new report.

The Verizon Business 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (2022 DBIR) reveals an unprecedented year in cybersecurity and details focal issues affecting the international cybersecurity landscape.

In addition to the increase in ransomware breaches, it also found that 82% of cyber breaches involved the human element, including social attacks, errors and misuse. It also found that 62% of incidents in the system intrusion pattern involved threat actors compromising partners.

“Of particular concern is the alarming rise in ransomware breaches,” said Verizon in a press release. “As criminals look to leverage increasingly sophisticated forms of malware, it is ransomware that continues to prove particularly successful in exploiting and monetizing illegal access to private information,” it added.

The report said that “it’s important to remember that while ubiquitous and potentially devastating, ransomware by itself is, at its core, simply a model of monetizing an organization’s access.”

The report also illustrated how one supply chain incident can cause a wide range of consequences: “Compromising the right partner is a force multiplier for threat actors. Unlike a financially motivated actor, nation-state threat actors may skip the breach altogether, and opt to simply keep the access to leverage at a later time.”

Concerning the human element, the report noted that it continues to be the main driver of breaches: “Whether it is the use of stolen credentials, phishing or simply an error, people continue to play a large part in incidents and breaches alike.”

Additionally, error continues to be a dominant trend “and is heavily influenced by misconfigured cloud storage,” the report found.

2022 DBIR found four common paths leading to an organization’s estate: credentials, phishing, exploiting vulnerabilities and botnets. “All four are pervasive in all areas of the DBIR, and no organization is safe without a plan to handle each of them,” said the report.

Verizon said that organized crime continues to dominate the world of cybersecurity, with approximately four in five breaches attributed to organized crime. Additionally, external threat actors are four-times more likely to breach an organization than an internal threat actor.

“Heightened geopolitical tensions are also driving increased sophistication, visibility and awareness around nation-state affiliated cyber-attacks,” said Verizon.

“Over the past few years, the pandemic has exposed a number of critical issues that businesses have been forced to navigate in real-time. But nowhere is the need to adapt more compelling than in the world of cybersecurity,” commented Hans Vestberg, CEO and chairman of Verizon. “As we continue to accelerate toward an increasingly digitized world, effective technological solutions, strong security frameworks and an increased focus on education will all play their part in ensuring that businesses remain secure, and customers protected."

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