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$45 Million Cyber-Attack Is Object Lesson from Verizon Study Showing No Business Is Safe, but Financial Institutions Bear Big Data Breach Risk

Newspapers around the world recently reported that a sophisticated and well-coordinated cyber-attack resulted in the theft of $45 million from thousands of ATMs worldwide. The incident accentuates the conclusions of Verizon’s 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR), compiled by a global team of government and private organizations analyzing computer security incidents over the past year. This annual report shows that companies of all sizes and types are likely to experience some sort of data breach – if they haven’t already – and highlights the risks for banks, brokers, and other financial institutions, which stand to lose the most if they fail to properly prepare for these security incidents.

This year’s DBIR collected and analyzed data from 621 confirmed data breaches with a minimum of 44 million compromised data records. According to the report, no industry was immune, but financial organizations bore the brunt of these attacks, alone accounting for 37 percent of known data breaches. Further, 75 percent of all attacks were driven by financial motives. Finally, the 2013 DBIR data continues to show that the majority of breaches still consistently comes from outside threats, despite conventional wisdom to the contrary.

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