2017: ‘Worst Year Ever’ in Data Breaches/Cyberattacks

Ransomware and new cyber attack methods prevalent in 2017 are responsible for a startling new stat: Cyber incidents targeting businesses nearly doubled from 82,000 in 2016 to nearly 160,000 in 2017, according to the Online Trust Alliance’s (OTA) latest report.

“Surprising no one, 2017 marked another ‘worst year ever’ in personal data breaches and cyber incidents around the world. Attacks involving data theft, ransomware takeovers, business email compromise (BEC) for financial or credential theft and infiltration of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices hit organizations both large and small,” according to the 10th annual Online Trust Alliance “Cyber Incident & Breach Trends Report, released Jan. 25, 2018.

Keep in mind that most cyber attacks are never reported, so the actual number is likely much, much higher — as much as 350,000 according to the report.

OTA analyzed data from sources including the FBI, Malwarebytes, the Ponemon Institute, Symantec, Risk Based Security and more to come up with their report.

Here are some of the highlights:

2017 Incident Highlights

  • 159,700 total cyber incidents in 2017 (OTA)
  • 93% of breaches could have been prevented (OTA)
  • 18.2% increase in reported breach incidents (RBS)
  • 7 billion records exposed in first 3 quarters (RBS)
  • $5 billion financial impact of ransomware (CV)
  • 90% rise in business targeted ransomware (Symantec)
  • $5.3 billion in global BEC losses (FBI)

Worldwide estimates. Sources: (OTA) Online Trust Alliance, (RBS) Risk Based Security, Cybersecurity Ventures (CV)

What’s notable and perhaps most frustrating of all is OTA’s assertion that 93 percent of all breaches in 2017 could have been avoided with simple cyber hygiene practices, like updating software, blocking fake email messages and training employees to recognize phishing attacks (check out our blog post for info about common phishing methods and ways to stay safe.) For more about the report, check out this TechRepublic story.

LibertyID for Small Business is here to help. When a small company has a data breach, it causes severe damage to the organization, its employees (no matter how their identity is compromised), customers and reputation. LibertyID for Small Business prepares you with prevention planning, a crisis response plan and fully managed identity theft restoration for your employees and for your customers should you experience a data breach.

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

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