Cyber-Espionage and Ransomware Attacks Soar
Malware continues to be a major factor in cyber-crime, and a growing volume contains ransomware. That's among the key findings of the 10th annual "Verizon 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report," which is based on data from 42,068 incidents and 1,935 breaches in 84 countries. Just three years ago, ransomware ranked 22nd among specific types of malware used. This year, it jumped to the fifth most-common type. Cyber-espionage is also on the rise, due largely to the proliferation of propriety research, prototypes and confidential personal data, which are hot-ticket items for cyber-criminals. Of the nearly 2,000 breaches analyzed for this year's report, more than 300 were espionage-related, and many of them originated as phishing emails. Pretexting—a scam in which a hacker pretends to need information to confirm a user's identity—is also increasing, predominantly via emails targeted at financial department employees. Marc Spitler, senior manager with Verizon Security Research and one of the lead authors of the report, urges businesses to implement the most up-to-date security protocols across their business. "There is no such thing as an impenetrable system, but getting the basics right makes a world of difference," he said. Spitler offered three quick tips: Grant system access only to staffers that need it for work; train employees to spot the warning signs of a breach; and patch promptly to guard against attacks.