IBM Says The State of Network Security is Abysmal

The state of online security is at a new low according to IBM Security’s 2017 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index. Cyber criminals are starting to grab unstructured data, spam has rebloomed 400%, and ransomware has gone nuts too.

With the rise in pure numbers of available connected devices along with the neverending pressure on companies to release new innovative products faster than the competition, security seems to be overlooked. The number of records compromised grew to a historic 566% in 2016, from 600 million the year earlier to more than 4 billion. One of the biggest here was the Yahoo breach which leaked and compromised more than 1.5 billion records. Many of the breaches in 2016 related to unstructured data such as email archives, business documents, intellectual property, and source code.

Ransomware also had a good year in 2016, if you can call it that. In the first three months alone, the FBI estimated that cyber criminals were paid $209 million via ransomware. If that continued throughout the year, we’re talking figures around $1 billion last year.

Both financial services and healthcare were big targets in 2016, as the years before, but the healthcare industry was hit on smaller targets this time.

“With Internet-shattering distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, troves of records leaked through data breaches, and a renewed focus by organised cybercrime on business targets, 2016 was a defining year for security. Indeed, in 2016 more than 4 billion records were leaked, more than the combined total from the two previous years, redefining the meaning of the term “mega breach.” In one case, a single source leaked more than 1.5 billion records,” IBM wrote.

“While the volume of records compromised, last year reached historic highs, we see this shift to unstructured data as a seminal moment. The value of structured data to cyber criminals is beginning to wane as the supply outstrips the demand. Unstructured data is big-game hunting for hackers and we expect to see them monetize it this year in new ways,” said Caleb Barlow, Vice President of Threat Intelligence, IBM Security.

The IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index elicits responses from more than 8,000 security clients in 100 countries and data derived from non-customer assets such as spam sensors and honeynets in 2016. IBM X-Force runs network traps around the world and monitors more than eight million spam and phishing attacks daily while analysing more than 37 billion web pages and images.

Bohs Hansen

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