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Number of breaches increasing due to espionage: Verizon

Thhere is a trend towards espionage emerging, according to the 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) from Verizon, which found an increase in state affiliated attacks over past reports.

Another area on the increase this year was in breaches affecting financial organisations, as well as in the number of network intrusions that affect manufacturing and utilities.

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There was also an increase in breaches affecting larger organisations and professional services.

In terms of who is perpetrating the breaches, Verizon investigative response regional managing Principal, Paul Black, said the threat is often close from home.

"This year's report saw an increased in the amount of confirmed breaches committed by insiders," he said.

With trends like these, Black said the security community is increasingly adopting an "assume you've been breached" mentality.

"DBIR looked at 621 confirmed data breaches in excess of 44 million records that have been compromised," he said.

"What we see very clearly in the data is that no one is immune to being hacked or suffering a data breach."

Black said that data breaches have taken place across the spectrum of organisations, from the "one man business operating from the bedroom right through to enterprises."

"All have been subjected with data breaches, but with different intent," he said.

Intent ranges from organised crime, espionage to state affiliated activists.

According to Black, organised crime tend to focus very much on information and attempting to breach and steal information that can be monetised.

"They won't used focused and target attack methods, but will use fairly straightforward methods to attempt data breaches, such as brute force attacks on systems," he said.

Bigger and better

In 2012, Verizon drew data from five sources for DBIR, including the US secret service and Australian Federal Police.

However, Verizon increased the number of contributors for this year's report to 19.

Black said this provided a broader cross section of contributors to the report, spanning public and private organisations, government agencies, law enforcement and universities.

"Along with the Verizon investigation data, a couple of organisations have looked at collection of statistics around the breach of industrial control systems," he said.

This increased sample size contributed to a "different and expanded" outlook on data security.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.


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