The 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations (DBIR) Report is out and with it, as always, comes some fascinating findings.

The takeaway? Phishing and ransomware are increasing, with organized crime mainly responsible for the spike.

The report found that phishing increased by 11% (present in 36% of breaches, instead of 25%), while ransomware increased by 6%.

Further, the report found that stolen credentials were a part of 25% of breaches. 

Here are a few other findings of note:

  • 55% of breaches are committed by organized crime
  • The number one motivation is money: that's what 86% of the criminals are in it for
  • Web applications were targeted in 39% of breaches
  • Compromised, external cloud assets are more common now than on-prem
  • Business Email Compromise losses: 95% of cases fell between $250-985,000
  • Ransomware losses: 95% of cases fell between $70 and $1.2 million
  • 85% of breaches involved a human element

What does this mean?

For one, it reinforces the fact that you have to have industrial-strength protection against phishing. Phishing is increasing and criminals seem more motivated than ever. They're after stolen credentials, yes, they're doing a ton of privilege abuse, but they want money—money that can be damaging to your business. While the range of losses varies widely, it's not enough to bet that you'll only lose $250 in a BEC case. Better to prevent it in the first place. Avanan's inline email security prevents the delivery of malicious emails from ever reaching the inbox

Next, criminals are moving to the cloud. The days of on-prem really are over. That was true before COVID and it's certainly true now. That means it's more important than ever to secure your email and all your web apps with a cloud-first solution. The old way of doing things doesn't apply. Secure Email Gateways, or Legacy gateways as we like to call them, try to take an on-prem approach and apply it to the cloud. That's like trying to make lemonade out of limes. It just doesn't track. Avanan is a cloud-native solution that secures your entire cloud from the inside—email, file-sharing, collaboration apps—and does so via API. This the modern way to secure your information. 

The report found that 85% of breaches involved a human element. That is crucial. When you have harried, busy, stressed-out employees, they may be more likely to click on an email that looks convincing enough. 

That's the downfall of many API-based email security solutions. They'll allow the email to reach the inbox, and then they'll determine if it's malicious or not. Sometimes that takes 30 seconds; other times it takes five minutes. Regardless of how long it takes, having it in the inbox for any length of time is a recipe for disaster. It just takes one click for a phishing expedition to be successful. In 93% of data breaches, the compromise occurred in a minute or less. By allowing emails in the inbox, even for a moment, can lead to major damage. 

The Verizon DBIR is always a fountain of knowledge and it's worth reading in full.