Canadian Security Magazine

IBM X-Force report: fewer records breached in 2017

By Canadian Security   

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IBM Security recently announced the results from the 2018 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, which found the number of records breached dropped nearly 25 per cent in 2017, as cybercriminals shifted their focus on launching ransomware.

In 2017, over 2.9 billion records were reported breached, down from 4 billion disclosed in 2016.

But ransomware reigned in 2017 as attacks such as WannaCry, NotPetya and Bad Rabbit caused chaos without contributing to the total number of compromised records reported, says the report.

“Last year, there was a clear focus by criminals to lock or delete data, not just steal it, through ransomware attacks,” said Wendi Whitmore, Global Lead, IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS). “These attacks are not quantified by records breached, but have proven to be just as, if not more, costly to organizations than a traditional data breach. The ability to anticipate these attacks and be prepared will be critical as cybercriminals will continue to evolve their tactics to what proves most lucrative.”

Overall, reports IBM, ransomware incidents have cost organizations over $8 billion in 2017. This trend puts increased pressure on organizations to be properly prepared with incident response strategies to limit the impact of an attack.


The report also shows that human error such as misconfigured cloud infrastructure was responsible for the exposure of nearly 70 per cent of compromised records tracked by IBM X-Force in 2017.

For example, 2017 saw a 424 per cent increase in records breached through misconfigurations in cloud servers.

Additionally, there is a growing awareness among cybercriminals of the existence of misconfigured cloud servers.

Beyond misconfigured cloud, individuals lured via phishing attacks represented one-third of inadvertent activity that led to a security event in 2017. This includes users clicking on a link or opening an attachment laced with malicious code, usually shared via a spam campaign launched by cybercriminals.

Finally, the report finds that the financial services industry remains the most targeted by cybercriminals. In 2017, it was the third-most attacked (17 per cent) — behind information and communications technology (33 per cent) and manufacturing (18 per cent) — but saw the most security incidents (27 per cent) — those requiring further investigations — compared to other industries.

Although financial services organizations have invested heavily in cybersecurity technologies, cybercriminals focused on leveraging banking Trojans targeting consumers and end users across the industry, says IBM.

The IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index is comprised of insights and observations from data analyzed via hundreds of millions of protected endpoints and servers across nearly 100 countries.

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