According to a new report titled “Mid-Year 2018 Data Breach QuickView” published by the cyber threat intelligence company Risk Based Security some 2.6. billion data records have been exposed in the first half of 2018.
This amazing figure is the result of 2,308 publicly disclosed data breaches, anyway, it represents a drop from 6 billion data records exposed in 2,439 breaches reported for the first half of 2017.
Five breaches exposed more than 100 million records each, the biggest data breach reported this year was the one suffered by India’s biometric database Aadhaar that exposed1.19 billion records.
“2018 has been a curious year. After the wild ride of 2017, we became accustomed to seeing a lot of breaches, exposing extraordinary amounts of information. 2018 is remarkable in that the number of public disclosed breaches appears to be leveling off while the number of records exposed remains stubbornly high,” declared Inga Goddijn, Executive Vice President for Risk Based Security.
“It’s not easy to characterize 2.6 billion records exposed as an improvement, even if it is less than the 6 billion exposed at this time last year.”
The most affected sector is the business one (40%), followed by healthcare (8.3%), government (8.2%), and education (4.5%). 40% of the organizations were not classified in the report, a not negligible percentage.
Experts observed a significant drop in the number of data breaches in the first quarter, but the in the second quarter the number of incidents returned to a more “normal” pace.
The most popular attack method to harvest credentials remains phishing, stolen credentials are used to gain access to systems or services in successive attacks.
Looking at the breach types, the highest share of records is related to hacking (54.6%) followed by fraud (47.5%).
The number of vulnerabilities reported this year on pace has overtaken the previous year, in many cases the root cause for the data breaches was the exploitation of this flaws in unpatched systems.
The data breach landscape was influenced by the introduction of the GDPR in May, under the European Regulation the affected companies were obliged to disclose the incident within 72 hours.
“There are a lot of moving parts to an effective information security program and certainly patch management is one of the trickier components to tackle. That said, tried and true social engineering techniques combined with the ability to take advantage of unpatched weaknesses are some of the most effective tools malicious actors can use. That means defending against activities like phishing and solid vulnerability management go hand in hand when it comes to stopping hackers.” added Ms Goddijn.
“While we expect hacking to remain the leading cause of data loss, we can’t lose sight of the damage that can come from accidental exposure. Misconfigured services, exposed S3 buckets and even improper email handling have led to more than their fair share of recent breaches. This type of data loss is easily prevented and protecting against it is nearly entirely within the organization’s control. It shouldn’t be overlooked in the quest to prevent external attacks,”