Ransomware Remains a Top Threat

Julie Butterfield June 6, 2022

It’s hard to imagine it could surge higher, but ransomware continues its upward climb with a “rise as big as the last five years combined,” according to Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report.

This is the 15-year anniversary of the ever-informative DBIR, which many review to boost awareness of the latest tactics attackers are using against businesses. This year’s report is the result of analyzing 23,896 incidents and 5,212 confirmed data breaches.

Let’s take a look at 5 of the most important takeaways:

1. Ransomware Is Rising, Still

This year, ransomware climbed 13%, maintaining its popularity among attackers as a ploy to invade your network. Ransomware attackers’ goal is to disrupt your organization’s critical functions, and they accomplish this by encrypting your data. With 40% of ransomware incidents involving Desktop sharing software and 35% involving email, Verizon notes that “locking down your external-facing infrastructure, especially (remote desktop protocol) RDP and emails,” can protect your organization against ransomware.

2. Threat Actors Are Focusing on the Supply Chain

Verizon defines supply chain breaches as a “sequence of or more breaches chained together,” including cases where there are secondary victims or where a partner was the conduit. Another example is when a compromised software vendor inadvertently sends a malicious update to organization, which renders the partner compromised access is gained through credentials or a trusted associate.

3. Human Error Persists
It seems like a broken record by now, but from stolen credentials to phishing to simple error, people continue to play a large role in data breaches. This year, 82% of breaches included the human-error element, and it persists in remaining a driving force behind a majority of cybersecurity problems.

4. Web Apps Are Increasingly Targeted
In the 2016 DBIR, servers comprised 50% of financial breaches. This year it has accelerated to 90%. The top problem is stolen credentials. The biggest culprits are hacking and credential stuffing—a cyberattack that includes usernames, passwords, and email addresses to gain unauthorized access to user accounts through automated login requests directed against a web application.

5. Denial of Service Attacks Climbing
DoS attacks have been increasing for three years and now account for 70% of attacks. The top culprits are stolen credentials (39%), ransomware (24%), and phishing (11%), according to the report. It doesn’t seem to matter what industry you’re in—these attacks are aiming for whatever industries are in its path.

While ransomware and DoS attacks remain top threats, it’s important to note the persistence of other damaging risks lurking in the 2022 cybersecurity landscape, such as supply chain vulnerabilities and the chronic human-error element.

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