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Verizon Releases 2015 Data Breach Investigation Report

By Vigilize | Monday, April 20, 2015 - Leave a Comment

An article review.


Great insights to help you better manage risk


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Each year the security folks at Verizon partner up with companies around the world to collect, analyze and report on data breaches. This year, their report is 70 pages full of explanations, graphs, charts and statistics. We hope to highlight some of the main points in this article review, and we’d like to thank our good friend, Dennis Teague of MainSource Financial, for bringing this report to our attention.

The scope of the Verizon investigation is quite massive. There were 70 contributing organizations that reported 79,790 security incidents. Of those, there were 2,122 confirmed data breaches across 61 countries. When categorizing these breaches, the top three affected industries were public, information, and financial services. These top categories remain unchanged from previous years.

As we examined the report, these were some of the highlights:

  • In 70% of the attacks where the motive was known, there was a secondary victim.
  • 75% of attacks spread from Victim 0 to Victim 1 within 24 hours.
  • RAM scraping has grown significantly. This type of malware was present in some of the most high profile retail breaches.
  • Keylogger malware has declined in past years, making up just around 5% of the recorded breaches.
  • In 60% of the breaches, hackers were able to compromise the targeted system in minutes.
  • 23% of recipients will open phishing messages and 11% click on attachments.
  • Nearly 50% open emails and click on phishing links within the first hour.
  • 99% of exploited vulnerabilities were compromised more than a year after the CVE (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures) was published.
  • Out of tens of millions of mobile devices, the number of devices infected with truly malicious exploits is about 0.03%.
  • 95% of malware types showed up for less than a month and four out of five didn’t last beyond a week.
  • 70 – 90% of malware samples are unique to an organization. Unique here refers to the signature or hash used within the malware.
  • The forecast average loss for a 1,000 records breach is between $52,000 and $87,000.
  • 95% of Web App Attacks involve harvesting credentials stolen from customer devices, then logging into web applications with them.
  • 15% of breach incidents still take days to discover.
  • When ranking internal misuse, 55% of incidents were internal actors abusing the access they have been trusted with.
  • In examinations of miscellaneous errors that led to a breach, 60% of those miscellaneous incidents were attributed to errors made by system administrators: i.e. misdelivery of information, publishing errors, disposal errors and beyond.

Though this report is not focused on any one industry or country, the global nature of it does give a good sense of where we stand against the rest of the world. Meanwhile, we can learn from what’s working and not working in other places.

Finally, this report is deep and based on a LOT of data. Because this is such a large and deep report, we recommend you page down through the report and make a list of what you want to read in detail. Then prioritize the list. If you are really busy, you might just want to peruse this report and keep it handy for some down time or management awareness training materials.

While this report is published annually, Verizon always changes the metrics they report on, so it lacks good historical trending information; however, the questions asked, especially this year, are unique and reveal interesting background on the “whys” as well as the “whats.”

This report is a free PDF download offered directly from Verizon Enterprise Solutions. When you click “Get Full Report,” you’ll be prompted to provide some personal information. You may do so at your own discretion, but opting in to their mailing list is not required. They provide a “Download Only” link just to the right of the “Register & Download” button.


Click Here To Read the Full Article


The above is what we call an “Article Review.” It is part of our attempt to help our readers find excellent reading materials to back up important technology risk management concepts. We try not to include articles that are merely news or additional news about mainstream issues. Instead, we try to highlight articles that our “typical clients” should be sure to read, or that are about concepts “outside the mainstream media.” infotex does not intend to endorse views represented by the writers of the articles we review, nor do we try to keep our Clients aware of EVERYTHING. For example, if a particular story concept is being reported upon in many different media sources, infotex usually chooses to ignore the story concept altogether, unless we can find a “unique take” on the story concept.


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