RSA’s First UK Data Security Summit – part 2: Verizon Data Breach Report 2013

The Verizon Data Breach Report 2013 was publicly released on Tuesday (23rd April).  We were given a world preview and initial review, with the headline of critical findings for business, as one of the key talks during the RSA UK Data Security Summit.

The report can be downloaded from here;

How as an organisation can we better understand our threat landscape?

Who gets attacked?Everyone – no one is immune;

  • Finance companies account for 34% of attacks
  • Attacks occur across all verticals and all business sizes
  • We are subject to continuous, non stop attacks
  • 19% of all attacks investigated appear to be state sponsored espionage – this also impacts companies of all sizes!

Who are the attackers?

  • Activists – maximise disruption / cause embarrassment etc.
    • basic, opportunistic, sheer numbers
  • Criminals – financial gain – PII, card details, proprietary business data
    • More calculated and complex, but still often opportunistic, trade information for cash
  • Spies – get exactly what they want – will stick at it until they get what they want much more than the first two.
    • most sophisticated tools (often), most targeted attacks, relentless

What to worry about (what are the trends)?

  • Same as last years
  • 75% breaches – financial motives
  • 95% of espionage used phishing!
  • Don’t ignore well established threats

What do they target (assets)?

  • Desktops 25%, file servers 22%, laptops 22%
  • Unapproved hardware accounts for 43% of misuse cases
  • BYOD / consumerisation has had little impact on the figures so far (maybe due to report being US centric?)

Many data breaches have unintentional element – many attacks focus on perhaps less trained / savvy staff – 46% originated through call centre staff

 69% of breaches spotted by third party (9% were customers)

  • most breaches still not spotted by breached company despite all the log data etc in the company.

Minimal time to attack – 84% of cases attack to compromised data took hours or less.  ~20% took minutes or less!

  • How quickly can you react, how quickly can you find the breach?
  • 66% of cases breaches took months or even years to be discovered!  How much data could be stolen in this time, what could they find out, what would the repetitional damage be?

Most organisations are a target because of what they do;

  • What do you do, and who wants you data?
  • Investigate profiling threat actors.


  • Make security company wide
  • Create better, faster detection – people, process, technology
  • Don’t underestimate tenacity
  • Understand threat landscape

 Security awareness training is still key!

So overall despite the evolving threat landscape, in many ways little has changed..  However. this report is definitely worth a read, and the inclusion of state actors in addition to criminals and activists / hactivists keeps it relevant and an line with reality.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *