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IBM: Data breaches declined in 2017 due to shift to ransomware

MORE THAN 2.9 BILLION RECORDS have been leaked worldwide from publically disclosed incidents in 2017, IBM Security has claimed.

According to the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2018, this was actually a drop of nearly 25 per cent over the previous year, which saw over four billion records sent into the wild.

While this sounds like good news, it actually isn’t. The security group said that the near 25 per cent drop in breaches was a result of cybercriminals instead shifting to a focus on ransomware attacks.

IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index is made up of a range of insights and observations from data analysed via hundreds of millions of protected endpoints and servers across nearly 100 countries.

The team behind the study runs thousands of spam traps around the world to help it monitor tens of millions of spam and phishing attacks daily while analysing billions of web pages and images to detect fraudulent activity and brand abuse.

The report found that the focus of criminals in 2017 to shift to locking or deleting data, not just stealing it, through ransomware attacks has been proven to be just as, if not more costly to organizations than a traditional data breach.

Mark James, security specialist at ESET, said it’s “no surprise” that cybercriminals are moving to ransomware attacks.

“Often, cyber-attacks are based on their probability to succeed and likelihood to reap rewards and ransomware has proven time and again it works,” he said. “It’s also no surprise that human error and mistakes in infrastructure configurations are on the rise; the ability to utilise these ‘holes’ in the security, enable vulnerabilities and exploits to be utilised to gain control or access.”

And his depressing comments didn’t stop there. He added that it’s not going to decline any time soon, either.

“Malware attacks, misconfigurations and user driven attacks are going to continue to cause companies problems, despite the emphasis being on patching and updating operating systems and applications,” he explained.

“So many companies have to outsource so many services that it becomes very difficult to have complete control over the security of our data, when it’s being stored on someone else’s servers.” µ

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