“Data Breach Analysis” Highlights Dangers Of Ransomware

April 18, 2022//Isa Jones

Last Updated: May 17, 2022

It’s not news that cyberattacks are increasing. The headlines and reports of attack after attack — from private organizations falling for ransomware to Russian groups targeting Ukraine, EU, and American systems — speak for themselves.

But now, there’s solid data to back up the anecdotes.

 

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Cyberattacks and Ransomware are Increasing

According to the Identity Theft Center’s report on Q1 of 2022 (January through March), there were 404 data compromises during the quarter, which is a 14% increase from Q1 of 2021. In addition, 92% of those data compromises came from cyberattacks, and ransomware was the number one root cause of those attacks. 

That data shows an increase in attacks, year over year, for the third year in a row. The top three targeted industries were, not surprisingly, healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing. All three of those industries rely heavily on third-parties, the internet of things, and are all moving to more digital-first operations — All traits that put them at risk for a cyberattack.

 

Why Ransomware is so Dangerous to Organizations

Ransomware is not a threat organizations should take lightly. It can be costly and damaging for an organization, and often that damage ripples out far past an organization’s operational technology.

Ransomware damages can include:

      • Operational downtime
      • Loss of revenue
      • Reputation damage
      • The leaking of protect data
      • Compliance issues and fines

None of those consequences are easy to work through, and each one can be devastating for an organization and those that rely on it. According to the report mentioned above, there were 4 reported instances of data exposures, with the victims involved totaling a little over 7 million. That’s a lot of private data being used for nefarious purposes, and a lot of people, at the very least, who have lost trust in the organizations involved.

While this report is alarming, the path forward is not futile. Organizations can take concrete steps to protect themselves and their critical assets in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

 

How Organizations Can Better Protect Themselves

Cybersecurity is an investment, and it’s one organizations can’t afford to not make. It’s not a matter of if you’ll be hacked, it’s a matter of when, and the reactive approach just doesn’t work.

Here are a few easy steps organizations can take to better their position and security:

1. Gain visibility into your systems, access points, assets, and third-party connections. A shocking statistic from the report was that 154 out of 367 data breach notices did not include the cause of the breach. Understanding your cybersecurity architecture, its vulnerabilities, and what happened to cause a breach is crucial to staying safe. Your organization can’t predict, prevent, or respond to an attack if it literally doesn’t know where it’s coming from.

2. Create robust access policies and fine-grained access controls.

3. Educate the humans of your organization. The second leading cause of cyberattacks, according to the above report, was phishing. Phishing needs a human to activate it. Whether it’s giving away sensitive information accidentally or clicking on a malicious link in an email, an internal user is the one that creates a phishing attack. Investing in user education is crucial to preventing a costly click.

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