About 85% of breaches in 2019 due to misconfigured systems: IBM Security

About 85% of breaches in 2019 due to misconfigured systems: IBM Security
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12 Feb, 2020

Misconfigured cloud servers and other improperly configured systems account for some 85 % of reported breaches, according to the latest IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2020.

The research, conducted by Atlanta, Georgia-based IBM Security, found more than 8.5 billion breach records reported in 2019. Seven billion of these, or over 85%, were due to misconfigured systems.

IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2020 identified how cybercriminals’ techniques have evolved. The study looked at tens of billions of corporate and personal records and hundreds of thousands of software flaws.

According to the report, repeat breaches were common (60%). Hackers leveraged either previously stolen credentials or known software vulnerabilities to regain access to victim’s networks.

In fact, older, known vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office and Windows Server Message Block were still finding high rates of exploitation in 2019.

Phishing, previously stolen credentials and scanning and exploitation of vulnerabilities have contributed to hackers’ evolution, the report found.

“The cyber threat environment in India has evolved over the years. Cybercriminals continue to fall back on using their usual tricks like stolen credentials, weaponising vulnerabilities, phishing attacks, ransomware etc., in addition to discovering newer ways of hacking," Vaidyanathan R Iyer, security software leader, IBM India/South Asia said.

Read: Advocacy groups, think tanks suggest encryption tech, stronger laws for new cyber security strategy

IBM X-Force conducted its analysis based on insights and observations from monitoring 70 billion security events per day in more than 130 countries.

On the positive side, phishing as a successful initial infection vector was found in less than one-third of observed incidents compared to half in 2018.

“The amount of exposed records that we’re seeing today means that cybercriminals are getting their hands on more keys to our homes and businesses. Attackers won’t need to invest time to devise sophisticated ways into a business; they can deploy their attacks simply by using known entities, such as logging in with stolen credentials,” Wendi Whitmore, vice president, IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence, said.

IBM Security, formerly known as Internet Security Systems, was founded in 1994. It was acquired by IBM in 2006.