What We Can Learn from Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Report

Data Breach

Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report is one of the most comprehensive and respected reports on data breaches and cybersecurity. The report is based on investigations by Verizon Security Researchers and the contributions of 70+ organizations worldwide. 

The report provides breakouts of types of attacks, industries targeted, and how successful attacks are achieved. As information professionals, we can learn much from this report to help keep our organizations safe. Here are some of the key takeaways:

Phishing is Still the Number One Attack Method

Phishing was responsible for 32% of data breaches in 2020, consistent with 2019 levels. Phishing attacks are successful because they exploit human vulnerabilities. They rely on the attacker’s ability to create a sense of urgency or fear to get the victim to click on a link or open an attachment without verifying the source. 

While many people think they would never fall for a phishing attack, these attacks are becoming more sophisticated and harder to spot. Organizations must train their employees regularly to help them spot phishing attempts. Additionally, tools that can verify links and identify malicious attachments can also be beneficial in protecting against phishing attacks. 

Ransomware is on the Rise – And it’s Costly

Ransomware attacks increased by 41% in 2020. These attacks are costly, with the average ransom paid doubling from 2019 to 2020 (from $84,000 to $170,000). Ransomware encrypts an organization’s data and then demands a ransom be paid to decrypt it. 

Organizations can protect themselves from ransomware in several ways. First, regular backups are critical. You can restore your data without paying the ransom if you have a backup. Second, security tools that detect ransomware before it encrypts your data can also be beneficial. Finally, employee training can go a long way in preventing ransomware attacks. Employees should refrain from opening attachments from unknown senders or clicking on links they are not expecting. 

Cloud Environmental Misconfiguration is a Growing Problem

Environmental misconfiguration occurs when an organization fails to secure its cloud environment properly. This can happen when permissions need to be correctly configured, access keys are left exposed, or when servers are left open to the internet without proper security controls in place. 

In 2020, environmental misconfiguration was responsible for 18% of data breaches – up from just 5% in 2019. The increase is likely because more and more organizations are moving to the cloud but may need more expertise to secure their cloud environments properly. 

To prevent environmental misconfiguration issues, organizations should consider using a cloud security solution that can help them automatically identify and remediate environmental problems. They should also consider working with a partner with expertise in securing cloud environments.

How To Reduce Your Data Breach Risk

The Verizon 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report provides a wealth of information on the latest threats and trends in data breaches. By understanding these threats, organizations can better protect themselves by taking the necessary steps to reduce risk.

This includes ensuring employees are adequately trained on spot phishing attempts, implementing security tools to detect malicious activity, and properly securing their cloud environments. Doing so will help ensure organizations are better prepared to protect themselves from data breaches in the future. 

Organizations must also remain vigilant and be prepared to respond quickly if a data breach does occur. They should have processes to identify, contain, and remediate a breach as soon as possible. Additionally, they should know who to contact for help (e.g., law enforcement or cybersecurity experts) and have an incident response plan. By taking a proactive approach to data security, organizations can better protect themselves against the latest threats and reduce their risk of being breached. 

By following these steps, organizations can help ensure they are prepared for the latest cyber threats and reduce their risk of experiencing a costly data breach.

When To Contact a Data Breach Expert

Data breaches can have serious consequences, including financial losses and reputational damage. If an organization suspects it has been breached or is in the process of responding to a breach, it should consider contacting a data breach expert for assistance.

These experts can help organizations identify the scope of the breach, contain the incident, and develop a remediation plan. They can also guide how to report the violation as data privacy laws and regulations require. Finally, they can advise on creating more robust security measures to prevent future incidents.

By engaging a data breach expert, organizations can feel more confident that their response is comprehensive and practical, reducing their risk of further losses and minimizing reputational damage.  

Final Thoughts

Data breaches are an ever-growing threat, and organizations must take steps to protect themselves. This includes training employees on spot phishing attempts, using security tools to detect malicious activity, properly configuring their cloud environments, and having an incident response plan.

Organizations should also consider engaging a data breach expert if they suspect they have been breached or are in the process of responding to a breach. By taking the necessary steps, organizations can better prepare themselves for the latest cyber threats and reduce their risk of experiencing a costly data breach.

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