Mega data breaches indicate shift in cybercrime landscape

Laptop crime scene

Cybercriminals are increasingly plotting for longer to pull off big heists rather than carrying out quick hits for smaller rewards.

Symantec's latest Internet Security Threat Report shows a significant shift in criminal behaviour as some of the most damaging attacks in history were carried out in the last year.

The report shows that in 2013, there was a 62 percent increase in the number of data breaches from the previous year, resulting in more than 552 million identities being exposed.

"One mega breach can be worth 50 smaller attacks," says Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response. "While the level of sophistication continues to grow among attackers, what was surprising last year was their willingness to be a lot more patient -- waiting to strike until the reward is bigger and better".

The report notes that each of the top eight security breaches in 2013 resulted in the loss of tens of millions of records, where in the previous year only a single breach reached that level. Also targeted attacks increased by 91 percent and lasted an average of three times as long compared to 2012.

Interestingly personal assistants and those working in public relations were the two most targeted professions as cybercriminals see them as a stepping stone toward higher-profile targets like celebrities or business executives.

"Nothing breeds success like success -- especially if you're a cybercriminal," adds Haley. "The potential for huge paydays means large-scale attacks are here to stay. Companies of all sizes need to re-examine, re-think and possibly re-architect their security posture".

You can find the full 2014 Internet Security Threat Report on the Symantec website. More information on mega breaches and how you can protect yourself and your business is in the infographic below.

2013_Breach_ ImpactImage Credit: zimmytws/Shutterstock

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