Critical Read

Verizon tracks trends in data breaches

report cover

What: Verizon's 2013 Data Breach Investigations Report released April 23

Why: The annual report shows why cybersecurity is top of mind among policymakers, network managers, and intelligence professionals. The report analyzes more than 47,000 security incidents, including 621 confirmed data breaches which yielded more than 44 million compromised records. The report indicates that the majority of confirmed data breaches (as opposed to overall incidents) are coming from outside of targeted networks, not from inside jobs or internal security lapses.

The victims: Retailers are typically targeted for credit card information. Manufacturers are being hacked for their intellectual property. Overall, organized crime entities lead others in perpetrating financially motivated breaches. State affiliated actors appear more interested in espionage. The "hacktivist" threat is relatively minimal, with politically motivated activists responsible for an estimated 2 percent of breaches by external actors. Overall, the report found that about 78 percent of attacks required low or very low skills on the part of perpetrators. Fewer than 1 percent of breaches required advanced skills, according to the report.

Verbatim: "State-affiliated actors tied to China are the biggest mover in 2012. Their efforts to steal IP comprise about one-fifth of all breaches in this dataset."

Click here to access the full report.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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