Friday, October 3

85% of Security Breaches are Opportunistic

I've talked before about security breaches being crimes of opportunity. I've given presentations and webinars discussing the Insider Threat and talking about security breaches. And I always mention that I don't think the concern should be that people are bad. I don't think that employees are out-to-get their companies.

I didn't want to paint a picture of bad guys huddled in a dark room trying to figure out how to breach the company's security. Sure, that happens too. But, I don't think that's the real Insider Threat. Some of those attacks may have an element of insider advantage, but the big number of security breaches that I attribute to insiders are more opportunistic. It's administrators who have been given explicit access to sensitive information and stumble across it in their daily routine. And it happens all the time.

According to a new Data Breach Report by Verizon Business,

85% of security breaches are opportunistic.

I always thought the percentage of insider breaches that are opportunistic would be high. But, of the breaches covered in this report,

18% were caused by insiders.

I believe that number to be much higher. This report is based on breaches that were not only reported, but brought to Verizon Business for help. Nobody calls a forensics team when an admin opens up an HR doc containing a co-worker's salary. Or when an admin creates a new account and grants full system rights in order to get a new application up and running. I would consider both scenarios to be a security breach, but neither would appear in this report (or other reports). Those breaches are generally not reported and quite often not even noticed.

Does your environment have a mechanism that enables you to even see that kind of activity? Most do not. ...which leads me to the last stat I'll share from the report:

87% of breaches in this study were considered
avoidable through reasonable controls

...and I would argue that the same is true for the unreported, opportunistic, insider-threat type of breaches that are likely unrepresented in this research.

1 comment:

Tadhg said...

That Verizon report is awesome, cheers for the link.