image of hacker in code
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Cyber threats are on the rise, according to the Verizon Business 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report.

Year-over-year ransomware attacks rose 13%, a rate that is more than the past five years combined, the report reads, adding that external actors are approximately four times more likely to cause breaches in an organization than internal actors. 

The researchers analyzed 23,896 security incidents, 5,212 of which were confirmed breaches.

“Over the past few years, the pandemic has exposed a number of critical issues that businesses have been forced to navigate in real-time. But nowhere is the need to adapt more compelling than in the world of cybersecurity,” Hans Vestberg, CEO and chairman of Basking Ridge, NJ-based Verizon, said in a statement. “As we continue to accelerate toward an increasingly digitized world, effective technological solutions, strong security frameworks and an increased focus on education will all play their part in ensuring that businesses remain secure, and customers protected.”

Organized crime accounted for 80% of breaches covered in the annual survey.

The human element plays a large role in ransomware attacks; it is “the weakest link in an organizations’ cybersecurity defenses,” according to the report. Social engineering attacks made up 25% of the total breaches. Including human error and misuse of privilege, the human element accounted for 82% of reported breaches over the past year, the authors said.

“While the report has evolved, the fundamentals of security remain the same. Assess your exposure, mitigate your risk, and take appropriate action,” said Dave Hylender, lead author of the report. “As is often the case, getting the basics right is the single most important factor in determining success.”