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Ransomware Attacks Skyrocket: Median Cost Doubles to $26,000, Representing a Quarter of All Breaches, Reports Verizon

Pretexting incidents over time. Source: Verizon 2023 DBIR Incident Classification Patterns
Action varieties in Social Engineering incidents (n=1,696). Source: Verizon 2023 DBIR Incident Classification Patterns

A report from Verizon Business’s 16th annual Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) reveals a startling surge in the frequency and cost of cyberattacks. It analyzed 16,312 security incidents and 5,199 breaches, showing a sharp uptick in the cost of ransomware.

Rising Ransomware Costs Ransomware is malicious software encrypting an organization’s data, followed by demands for substantial payments to regain access. According to the report, in the past two years, the median cost of a ransomware incident more than doubled to $26,000, with 95% of incidents causing losses ranging between $1 million and $2.25 million. Also noted, ransomware attacks were more numerous in the past couple of years than in the preceding five years combined, representing nearly a quarter of all breaches (24%).

Global Threat Persistence: Craig Robinson, research vice president at the International Data Corporation, stressed the global persistence of cyber threat actors in seeking sensitive consumer and business data. The financial gains from these illicit activities are substantial, and the issue is increasingly attracting the attention of business leaders and board members.

Human Element in Breaches: The report also highlighted the significant role of the human element in cybersecurity incidents, contributing to 74% of total breaches. This is despite efforts to bolster critical infrastructure and enhance cybersecurity training.

Exploiting Human Vulnerabilities: Tactics such as social engineering exploit human vulnerabilities, with techniques like phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) becoming increasingly prevalent. The median amount stolen in BECs has risen to US$50,000, contributing to a near doubling of pretexting in the past year.

Senior Leadership Risks: Chris Novak, managing director of cybersecurity consulting at Verizon Business, warned of the growing cybersecurity threat posed by senior leadership within organizations. He pointed to their access to sensitive information and often inadequate security protocols. With social engineering on the rise, organizations are urged to prioritize the protection of their senior leadership.

Emerging Tech Threats: The use of advanced technology, such as AI-assisted voice-cloning or “deep fake” voice technology, further complicates the cybersecurity landscape. Intelligence firm Recorded Future recently warned about the potential use of this technology for scams, signaling the need for ongoing vigilance in an increasingly sophisticated digital threat environment.

By CircleID Reporter

CircleID’s internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us.

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