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Data Breaches and Security Incidents Surged to Record High in 2019, Verizon Report Shows

By Silviu Stahie on May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

Security incidents and confirmed data breaches jumped to a record high in 2019, according to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, which covers 16 industries. 

Data breaches affect all industries, and the phenomenon is increasing steadily, year over year. As companies and organization move operations to the cloud or expand existing infrastructures, they become more vulnerable if they don’t compensate with cybersecurity measures. 

The latest Verizon report underlines just how widespread data breaches really are and how they affect each industry. The report also delves into how these security incidents occur and looks for the common culprits in these situations. 

A total of 157,525 were investigated for this report, including 32,002 that met the quality standard to be considered. All in all, 3,950 were confirmed as data breaches, and they almost double the 2,013 incidents identified in the previous survey. It’s almost double, and it’s representative for the entire world, given that the data comes from 81 countries. 

Out of all confirmed data breaches, just over 20% had phishing as a cause, followed by the use of stolen credentials. These methods are widely used to gather information that hackers later use in data breaches. Over 80% of breaches due to hacking involve brute force attacks or lost or stolen credentials. 

Moreover, according to Verizon, moving to the cloud doesn’t necessarily represent a shift to safety, especially if the infrastructure is not properly deployed. 

“Cloud assets were involved in about 22% of breaches this year, while on-premises assets are still 71%34 in our reported incidents dataset,” states the report. “Cloud breaches involved an email or web application server 73% of the time. Additionally, 77% of those cloud breaches also involved breached credentials.” 

As for the affected industries, Healthcare apparently suffered the most (521 data breaches), followed by Finance (448) and Manufacturing (381). 

“This year we collected 157,525 incidents and 108,069 breaches,” the report says. “That may sound impressive until you realize that 100,000+ of those breaches were credentials of individual users being compromised to target bank accounts, cloud services, etc.” 

Data breaches and security incidents are likely to register another jump in 2020, as many people started to work from home, all at once, a situation forced upon companies by the pandemic. The current Verizon report covered a period from November 1, 2018, to October 31, 2019.

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Author: Silviu Stahie

Silviu is a seasoned writer who followed the technology world for almost two decades, covering topics ranging from software to hardware and everything in between. He's passionate about security and the way it shapes the world, in all aspects of life. He's also a space geek, enjoying all the exciting new things the Universe has to offer.