Ransomware attacks shows no sign of abating, Verizon report finds

Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) noticed an alarming rise in ransomware breaches -- 13% in a single year -- representing a jump greater than the past 5 years combined.
25 May 2022

Verizon: Ransomware attacks shows no sign of abating (Photo by Michael M. Santiago / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

  • Ransomware attacks continue to prove particularly successful in exploiting and monetizing illegal access to private information.
  • People also remain, by far, the weakest link in an organizations’ cybersecurity defenses.
  • Roughly four in five breaches can be attributed to organized crime.

The year 2021 was an exceptional one in cybersecurity — that’s what most cybersecurity experts have highlighted and Verizon’s latest Data Breach Investigations Report were no different. Upon examining the unprecedented year in cybersecurity history, Verizon concluded that among the leading issues affecting the international cybersecurity landscape, ransomware attacks are the most alarming ones.

With a 13% rise in a single year — a jump greater than the past five years combined — the report highlighted that criminals are constantly looking to leverage increasingly sophisticated forms of malware. “It is ransomware that continues to prove particularly successful in exploiting and monetizing illegal access to private information,” the report highlighted.

Even organized crime continues to be a pervasive force in the world of cybersecurity, Verizon highlighted. “Roughly four in five breaches can be attributed to organized crime – with external actors approximately four times more likely to cause breaches in an organization than internal actors,” the firm’s press release reads.

Verizon’s CEO and chairman Hans Vestberg also noted that “Over the past few years, the pandemic has exposed a number of critical issues that businesses have been forced to navigate in real-time. But nowhere is the need to adapt more compelling than in the world of cybersecurity.”

To top it off, the heightened geopolitical tensions have also been driving increased sophistication, visibility, and awareness around nation-state affiliated cyberattacks. To top it off, for many businesses, the past year has also been dominated by supply chain issues, a trend reflected across the cybersecurity landscape. 

In fact, Verizon noted that 62% of System Intrusion incidents came through an organization’s partner. “Compromising the right partner is a force multiplier for cybercriminals, and highlights the difficulties that  many organizations face in securing their supply chain,” it added.

People also remain, by far, the weakest link in an organizations’ cybersecurity defenses. In the 2022 report, it was highlighted that 25% of total breaches were the result of social engineering attacks, and when you add human errors and misuse of privilege, the human element accounts for 82% of analyzed breaches over the past year.