Wipro has presented the third edition of their "State of Cybersecurity Report," looking at trends and behaviors that have occurred over the last year.
They note changes that are emerging in the field. They say that cyberattacks have moved on from the classic and traditional techniques and have become much more targeted and sector-specific. The old "spray and attack" kind of intrusion has gotten more sophisticated, and consequently efficient. Wipro says 48% of the significant publicly recorded data breaches were from the health and financial services sector.
The percentage of just basic information loss dropped from 22% to 5%, while the personally identifiable information (PII) + user credential combination had a loss that rose from 29% to 38% since last year. No doubt attackers are looking for reused passwords in the account information they steal.
Consider that the PII + financial record combo as an attacker's goal has increased from 12% last year to 26%.
Attackers are also doing many more operations in "stealth" mode so as to make attribution of the attacks more difficult.
These targeted strikes are resulting in a higher breach rate (notional records stolen per second). Wipro found an exponentially increasing breach rate (232 records/sec, 88 records/sec and 43 records/sec over the three years of the report) yet cumulative number of significantly recorded breaches has come down by 25%. Less spray means less wasted attacks.
Both cryptominers and ransomware were found to have risen in the first quarter of 2018 and subsequently declined in the latter half of the year. The top three cryptominer malwares -- Coinhive, Cryptoloot and JSEcoin -- have contributed to 80% of cryptomining attacks. Wipro's data also shows a decline similar to cryptomining for ransomware, with attacks decreasing in the latter half of the year.
Defenders are changing and evolving as well. CEOs seem to be feeling the heat generated by a rash of major breaches, which could be reflected in the 22% of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) who find themselves reporting straight to the CEO (51% report to the CIO). These numbers are expected to grow in the coming years by most observers. 44% of US enterprises already have the CISO directly accountable for data privacy, and there are newer regulations like the GDPR which have also mandated the position of Data Protection Officer (DPO) in many European organizations. Other countries may follow suit.
What a CISO does is in flux, too. Wipro notes that, "More and more CISOs are playing the governance overlay functions of defining and establishing security policies (84%) while there is a slight decline in the number of CISOs directly controlling and allocating budgets for security projects (60%)."
State regulation of data privacy has grown over the history of the study. In June 2018, the state of California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) giving more control to customers over the way their data is utilized. Industry-specific notifications for data breach have also been passed in South Carolina, Vermont and Virginia. Paradoxically, the US has strict breach notification laws, while its cross-border data transfer laws are less stringent than GDPR.
The trends espoused by the report seem to be reflective of the current state of cybersecurity. Targeting will rise as attacks get more sophisticated, and defenders will be forced to respond to that targeting.
— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.