Cyber incidents cost $45 billion in 2018

Lock and money
Cybercriminals are getting better at monetizing their activities, with more than two million cyber incidents in 2018 resulting in over $45 billion in losses, with actual numbers expected to be much higher as many cyber incidents are never reported.

The Internet Society's Online Trust Alliance (OTA) has released a report which finds the financial impact of ransomware rose by 60 percent last year, and losses from business email compromise doubled, despite the fact that overall breaches and exposed records were down.

"While it's tempting to celebrate a decreasing number of breaches overall, the findings of our report are grim," says Jeff Wilbur, technical director of the Internet Society's Online Trust Alliance. "The financial impact of cybercrime is up significantly and cyber criminals are becoming more skilled at profiting from their attacks. So, while there may be fewer data breaches, the number of cyber incidents and their financial impact is far greater than we’ve seen in the past."

Other trends noted in the report are a tripling of cryptojacking, and a 78 percent increase in supply chain attacks where attackers infiltrate via third-party website content, vendors' software or third-parties' credentials.

The number of ransomware attacks was down in 2018, but the OTA report notes a troubling rise in reported ransomware attacks against state and local governments in 2018 and early 2019. Breaches targeting the cities of Baltimore and Atlanta led to the disruption of many government services.

The report also sees a rash of sensitive data being left open to the Internet due to misconfigured cloud services. There has also been a rise in credential stuffing attacks.

"Our report findings indicate that cybercriminals are using their infiltration ability to focus on new, more lucrative attacks," adds Wilbur. "Staying up-to-date on the latest security safeguards and best practices is crucial to preventing attacks in the future."

The full report is available from the Internet Society site.

Image credit: Norebbo/Shutterstock

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