Most breaches of companies in 2019 were financially motivated, and this remains the main reason organizations to protect against all types of intrusions, a Verizon study has found.
Threat actors were seeking financial profit in 71% of incidents registered this year, Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report found. Espionage comes in a distant second place, at 25%.
While espionage sounds more like stealing proprietary data or sensitive information, it’s also about sabotaging rival organizations. A compromised company usually takes a financial hit following a breach -- almost immediately if it’s listed on the stock market. In fact, the effects of a breach can be felt up to two years after the incident.
“In addition to the botnet breaches that were filtered out, there are other scalable breach types that allow for opportunistic criminals to attack and compromise numerous victims,” reads the report. “Breaches with a strategic advantage as the end goal are well-represented, with one-quarter of the breaches associated with espionage. The ebb and flow of the financial and espionage motives are indicative of changes in the data contributions and the multi-victim sprees.”
The 71% representing the financially motivated breaches is a significant number, but there’s more to it. 52% of the breaches were perpetrated with some form of hacking, and social attacks (phishing campaigns) represent only 33%. Malware was involved in 28% of the breaches, and causal events account for another 21%. Mistakes made by people led to only 15% of all breaches.
As for the victims, 43% of them consist of small businesses. The public sector, healthcare organizations, and the financial segment were the most affected industries.
A few other notable metrics:
· 69% of the breaches were perpetrated by outsiders
· 34% involved Internal actors
· 2% involved partners
· 5% featured multiple parties
· Organized criminal groups were behind 39% of breaches
· Actors identified as nation-state or state-affiliated were involved in 23% of breaches
For the report, the researchers covered 41,686 security incidents, including 2,013 confirmed data breaches.