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Ransomware attacks surged more in 2021 than past five years combined

In 2021 year-on-year ransomware attacks increased by 13%, a rise greater than the past five years combined according to the Verizon Business 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (2022 DBIR).

The 15th edition of the report released in May 2022 analyzed 23,896 security incidents, of which 5,212 were confirmed breaches. The report revealed that roughly four out of five breaches can be attributed to organized crime, with external actors approximately four times more likely to cause breaches in an organization than internal actors. 2022 DBIR also found that human element was involved in 82% of all breaches analysed over the past year. It terms 2021 as an unprecedented year in cyber security history.

The report says as criminals look to leverage increasingly sophisticated forms of malware, it is ransomware that continues to prove particularly successful in exploiting and monetising illegal access to private information.

Heightened geopolitical tensions are also driving increased sophistication, visibility and awareness around nation-state affiliated cyber attacks.

Verizon CEO and chairman Hans Vestberg said, “Over the past few years, the pandemic has exposed a number of critical issues that businesses have been forced to navigate in real-time. But nowhere is the need to adapt more compelling than in the world of cyber security.

“As we continue to accelerate toward an increasingly digitized world, effective technological solutions, strong security frameworks, and an increased focus on education will all play their part in ensuring that businesses remain secure and customers protected,” said Mr Vestberg.

For many businesses, the past year has also been dominated by supply chain issues, and this trend was also reflected across the cyber security landscape and 62% of system intrusion incidents came through an organization's partner. Compromising the right partner is a force multiplier for cyber criminals and highlights the difficulties that many organizations face in securing their supply chain.

In a finding that exposes the cost of human influence, people remain - by far - the weakest link in an organizations' cyber security defenses. Of the total breaches in the 2022 report 25% were the result of social engineering attacks, and if human errors and misuse of privilege are added, the human element accounts for 82% of analyzed breaches over the past year.



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