Empowering Small Practices to Deliver the Best Care WHY YOU’RE THE PRIME TARGET FOR A HACKER And Other Insights From Verizon’s Latest Data Breach Report
For the past 12 years, Verizon has published the Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR), a comprehensive study of cybercrime aimed at businesses. The DBIR is regarded as the most comprehensive analysis of the world of digital data theft. This year’s report collects information from 73 data sources across 86 countries, comprising 41,686 security incidents and 2,013 data breaches. While there’s more information in the report than I could ever summarize here, I would like to share a few findings that are extremely relevant to every person reading this newsletter. The biggest and most wide-ranging bit of insight comes from the DBIR’s executive summary. It states, “No organization is too large or too small to fall victim to a data breach. No industry vertical is immune to attack. Regardless of the type or amount of your organization’s data, there is someone out there who is trying to steal it.” In other words, cybercriminals are coming for you, so you better be ready. The preferred targets of hackers are small businesses, which account for 43% of breaches. That may come as a surprise when you only read stories about hacks of massive companies like Sony or Target, but it makes sense when you think about it. Smaller businesses rely on data just as much as the big boys, but they don’t always invest in the infrastructure and services to protect that data. They also often lack the technical know-how and support to accurately respond to breaches. Take ransomware, for example, which involves a criminal holding your data hostage until you pay a fee. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the best move for the business is to not pay the ransom. However, if you’re under pressure and don’t understand the nature of your back-ups and data security, you may be tempted to pay. If you do, the hacker may unlock your data or they may not. Whatever the outcome, though, the health of your business is going to be in jeopardy.
second-place reason, espionage, which accounts for about 21%. Hackers understand who has the most access to data and who has the ability to move the needle in terms of delivering what they want, which is why Verizon has observed a trend where executives and business owners are most likely to be targeted. That low-level employee may not have access to much valuable data, but higher- ups certainly will. The members of your team who have access to such data need to be fully aware of their responsibility to protect it. Training and education are crucial in keeping your network safe. The good news is that it seems many companies are getting better at that training. The DBIR notes that click-through rates on phishing simulation exercises have dropped from 24% to 3% since 2012. However, as companies wise up, so too do the criminals trying to exploit them. Training needs to be continuous and updated to reflect the latest criminal tactics. While the impact of phishing may be dwindling, the rise of cloud storage has presented a profitable new avenue for hackers. Companies are transitioning to the cloud at a rapid rate to become more agile. However, too many take the plunge without first understanding how to secure that data. They just upload it, trust their storage provider, and that’s that. According to Verizon, cloud-based services are not inherently less secure. Instead, they are just a more valuable target and of more interest to criminals. How can you ensure that your business is prepared to deal with contemporary cybercrime? A good start is to read the 2019 DBIR, which you can download for free online, and understand the nature of the problem in a little more detail. Then, work with an IT company that can meet the needs of your business. In a world where cybercrime is a constant menace, it’s the best investment you can make. –Byron Adams
Why do hackers break in? Money, of course. The DBIR concludes that 75% of attacks are financially motivated, far ahead of the
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