Information protection company, Symantec, has revealed that cybercriminals unleashed the most damaging series of cyber-attacks in history in the first 10 months of 2013.[blockquote cite=”Symantec”]According to the report, in 2013, there was a 62 percent increase in the number of data breaches from the previous year, resulting in more than 552 million identities exposed – proving cybercrime remains a real and damaging threat to consumers and businesses alike. [/blockquote]
Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) shows a significant shift in cybercriminal behaviour, revealing that the criminals have been plotting for months before pulling off huge attack, instead of executing quick hits with smaller rewards.
“One mega breach can be worth 50 smaller attacks,” Kevin Haley, Director, Symantec Security Response said. “While the level of sophistication continues to grow among attackers, what was surprising last year was their willingness to be a lot more patient – waiting to strike until the reward is bigger and better.”
According to the report, in 2013, there was a 62 percent increase in the number of data breaches from the previous year, resulting in more than 552 million identities exposed – proving cybercrime remains a real and damaging threat to consumers and businesses alike.
Ed Ferrara, VP and principal analyst, Forrester Research says “Security incidents, managed well, can actually enhance customer perceptions of a company; managed poorly, they can be devastating. If customers lose trust in a company because of the way the business handles personal data and privacy, they will easily take their business elsewhere.”
The size and scope of breaches is exploding, putting the trust and reputation of businesses at risk, and increasingly compromising consumers’ personal information from credit card numbers and medical records to passwords and bank account details. Each of the eight top data breaches in 2013 resulted in the loss of tens of millions of data records. By comparison, 2012 only had a single data breach reach that threshold.
“Nothing breeds success like success – especially if you’re a cybercriminal,”, Haley said. “The potential for huge paydays means large-scale attacks are here to stay. Companies of all sizes need to re-examine, re-think and possibly re-architect their security posture.”
Targeted attacks increases by 91 percent and lasted an average of three times longer compared to 2012. Personal assistants and those working in public relations were the two most targeted professions as cybercriminals use them as a stepping stone toward higher-profile targets like celebrities or business executives.