Healthcare, SMEs biggest targets of security attacks, says Verizon

Healthcare, SMEs biggest targets of security attacks, says Verizon

NEWSBYTE SMEs and healthcare organisations are the biggest targets of hackers and organised criminals, according to Verizon, with personal, medical, and financial data firmly in their sights.

The communications giant has published its 11th annual data breach investigations report (click to download the full PDF). The 68-page document details all of the different types of data security incidents and breaches that took place last year.

It finds that 73 percent of breaches were perpetuated by outsiders, with 50 percent carried out by criminal groups, 28 percent by internal actors, and 12 percent by hostile states or affiliated organisations. Two percent originated at partner organisations, according to the report.

Personal data was the biggest target of attacks, followed by payment details, private medical records, and personal or business credentials.

Nearly 50 percent of all incidents involved hacking, 30 percent included malware, 17 percent were triggered by errors, and a further 17 percent were social attacks. In addition, 12 percent of breaches or incidents involved privilege misuse, and 11 percent were caused by physical actions.

Seventy-six percent of all incidents were financially motivated, says Verizon, with 13 percent motivated by the potential gain of strategic advantage (espionage).

The report reveals that 24 percent of breaches affected healthcare organisations, 15 percent involved accommodation or food services, and 14 percent hit public sector organisations. However, by far the biggest targets – at 58 percent of all breaches – were SMEs.

Alongside the troubling focus on healthcare organisations – and private medical data – and the overwhelming impact on smaller businesses, the report reveals that 68 percent of breaches took months, or even longer, to discover.

However, by far the largest type of incident – including attempted breaches – remains Denial of Service (DoS): Verizon logged over 21,400 such attacks last year. In terms of successful breaches, 399 involved stolen (hacked) credentials, while over 300 involved RAM-scraping malware, with phishing and privilege abuse not far behind.

Within organisations, the biggest targets were databases, followed by POS servers, POS controllers, and Web apps.

Internet of Business says

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Chris Middleton
Chris Middleton is the editor of Internet of Business, and specialises in robotics, AI, the IoT, blockchain, and technology strategy. He is former editor of Computing, Computer Business Review, and Professional Outsourcing, among others, and is a contributing editor to Diginomica, Computing, and Hack & Craft News. Over the years, he has also written for Computer Weekly, The Guardian, The Times, PC World, I-CIO, V3, The Inquirer, and Blockchain News, among many others. He is an acknowledged robotics expert who has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITN, and Talk Radio, and is probably the only tech journalist in the UK to own a number of humanoid robots, which he hires out to events, exhibitions, universities, and schools. Chris has also chaired conferences on robotics, AI, digital marketing, and space exploration, and spoken at numerous other events.