- Verizon's new 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report finds cybercriminals increasingly exploit human nature in their attack patterns, the company reports.
- They name phishing as the top concern, in which victims receive an email from a fraudulent source, followed by the increase in ransomware, in which data is encrypted and a ransom demanded.
- Almost three quarters of security incidents in healthcare in 2015 involved physical theft and loss (32%), insider and privilege misuse (23%), and miscellaneous errors (18%).
As noted earlier this month by an IBM report, five of the eight largest healthcare security breaches with more than 1 million records reportedly compromised occurred within the first six months of 2015. That report found 60% of cyberattacks last year were the result of someone with physical or remote access to an organization's assets - an insider.
Verizon researchers were concerned to find more phishing emails being opened, rising from a rate of 23% in the 2015 report to 30% in the current report. They add 13% of those victims went on to click the email's malicious attachment or link.
Falling for phishing isn't our only human weakness. The report highlights other factors including passwords, noting 63% of breaches involve weak, default or stolen passwords. Another major issue is the lack of basic precautions, Verizon finds, resulting in the exploitation of long-known vulnerabilities that have had patches available for months or years. "In fact, the top 10 known vulnerabilities accounted for 85% of successful exploits," the report finds.
Human error is also a top security issue, with ‘miscellaneous errors’ taking the top spot for security incidents in this year’s report, the authors say. These errors include improper disposal of data, misconfiguration of IT systems, lost and stolen devices, and sending sensitive information to the wrong people.
“You might say our findings boil down to one common theme — the human element,” stated Verizon's Bryan Sartin, executive director of global security services. “Despite advances in information security research and cyber detection solutions and tools, we continue to see many of the same errors we’ve known about for more than a decade now. How do you reconcile that?”