Report: Hacking is the top cause of data breaches

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According to a recent study by Flashpoint, 1,980 breaches were reported globally within the first six months of 2022, and research showed significant shifts. The most significant being that breaches occurring from misconfigurations, or “web” related incidents, fell drastically, compared to the same period last year — falling from 27.3 billion to 1.4 billion records.

While this suggests that some progress may have been made in reducing risk, organizations need to remain vigilant as hacking is still the number one cause for data breaches — with Flashpoint stating that approximately 60% of all reported breach events originated from unauthorized access to company systems.

1,980 data breaches were reported in the first six months of 2022, and approximately 60% were the result of hacking. Image credit: Flashpoint.

This means that in addition to maintaining reduced web exposure, security teams will need to focus their efforts on stopping skilled malicious actors. To empower them to do so, the report advises that organizations supplement their vulnerability management programs with better intelligence, while also implementing processes for hardening systems and periodic audits of controls.

Insider risk: Real or bogeyman?

Insider risk is a perennial topic of discussion. Is the insider threat fact or fiction? The answer is not a simple yes or no. Of the breaches with a confirmed origin, only 23% of incidents originated from within the victim organization and of that figure, the majority, 61%, were attributable to data handling mistakes.


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Image credit: Flashpoint.

Of the 54 breaches confirmed to have originated with a malicious insider, the incidents range from the banal, such as small scale theft of credit card data from customers at the point of sale, to the potentially catastrophic, such as theft of investment intensive technological innovations and proprietary source code.

Flashpoint’s State of Data Breach Intelligence: 2022 Midyear Edition report covers publicly disclosed compromise events first reported between January 1, 2022, and June 30, 2022.

Read the full report from Flashpoint.

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