97% of Last Year’s Hackings were Preventable says Verizon
Phone company and service provider has Verizon has released their annual Data Breach Investigations Report, which reports on the activities of hackers and hacking-related crimes. According to this year’s report, 2011 was a great and political year for hacking, as many hackers used it as a tool to propagate their political motives.
According to the Data Breach Investigations Report, 58 percent of the data stolen by hackers in 2011 was related to these types of politically motivated hackings. This new trend of political motivation is vastly different from other forms of cyber hacking, which usually results in stolen data strictly for monetary gain.
Of all of the attacks that occurred last year, 97 percent of them were not very difficult, meaning that there were very little technical skill or advanced equipment required. Additionally, nearly all of last year’s hack attacks could have been avoided easily without the need to resort to fancy equipment or expensive programming. The report also contains several recommendations that companies can use to their advantage to protect themselves against further hacking.
This is the fifth year that the report has been published. It currently states that there were 855 data breaches, leading to 174 million stolen records. This is the second highest these incidents have been since the research team first began collecting data in 2004. There were five other companies and security firms who joined in conducting in this year’s research for the publication: the United States Secret Service, the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit, the Australian Federal Police, the Irish Reporting & Information Security Service and the Police Central e-Crime Unit of the London Metropolitan Police.
“With the participation of our law enforcement partners around the globe, the ‘2012 Data Breach Investigations Report’ offers what we believe is the most comprehensive look ever into the state of cyber security,” said Wade Baker, Verizon’s director of risk intelligence. “Our goal is to increase the awareness of global cybercrime in an effort to improve the security industry’s ability to fight it while helping government agencies and private sector organizations develop their own tailored security plans.”
The report findings reinforced the international nature of cybercrime. Breaches originated from 36 countries around the globe, an increase from 22 countries the year prior. Nearly 70 percent of breaches originated in Eastern Europe, with less than 25 percent originating in North America.
External attacks remain largely responsible for data breaches, with 98 percent of them attributable to outsiders. This group includes organized crime, activist groups, former employees, lone hackers and even organizations sponsored by foreign governments. With a rise in external attacks, the proportion of insider incidents declined again in this year’s report, to 4 percent. Business partners were responsible for less than 1 percent of data breaches.
In terms of attack methods, hacking and malware have continued to increase. In fact, hacking was a factor in 81 percent of data breaches and in 99 percent of data lost. Malware also played a large part in data breaches; it appeared in 69 percent of breaches and 95 percent of compromised records. Hacking and malware are favored by external attackers, as these attack methods allow them to attack multiple victims at the same time from remote locations. Many hacking and malware tools are designed to be easy and simple for criminals to use.