What Remote Teams Need to Know About the 2020 DBIR

Verizon’s 13th annual Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) is out!  

Considered “required reading” in the cybersecurity field, this comprehensive report analyzes security trends, explores how data breaches happen, and shares strategies for companies to improve security. This year’s report is based on a data set of 157,525 incidents reported by 81 contributors representing 81 countries, out of which 3,950 (~2.5%) were identified as confirmed data breaches over the past year.  

As always, the full report is worth a read, but we wanted to highlight a few key takeaways: 

80% of hacking-related breaches are still tied to passwords 

Passwords continue to cause significant security risks. This year’s report shares that 80% of breaches employed lost or stolen credentials – a statistic that is unchanged from last year. 

Password dumper malware attacks are on the rise 

Password dumper attacks – when cybercriminals gain fraudulent access to systems to copy and steal saved passwords – are the most common form of malware seen, according to the report. Malware password dumper attacks have taken the top spot in malware breach varieties and are up 4.9% from last year.  

Multifactor authentication is a best practice 

Given the inherent weaknesses of passwords, and their frequent misuse, the report also makes the case for why passwords alone shouldn’t be used to secure sensitive data.  

In particular, password-protected accounts are vulnerable if credentials are ever stolen, whether through phishing, keylogging, social engineering, or other attacks.  

“The key to reducing this risk,” says the report, “is to ensure that the stolen credentials are worthless against your infrastructure by implementing multifactor authentication methods.” The report goes on to reiterate that “Locking down user accounts across the organization is key to keeping bad guys from using stolen credentials, especially by the use of practices like multifactor authentication.” 

Prioritizsecurity now, even while remote 

The silver lining to the finding’s in the 2020 DBIR is that organizations can and should take action to reduce the threats faced by their organizations, especially now that remote work is the new normal. 

Given that lost and stolen credentials continue to play such a strong role in data breaches and that multifactor authentication is a best practice to protect those credentials, it’s more critical now than ever to better manage access and authentication. Regardless of where an employee is working or the device they use, organizations need to make it easy for the employee securely access everything they need to stay productive while thwarting potential attacks.  

As organizations adjust to a new normal and adapt their security strategy to accommodate a remote workforce, they should incorporate strategies recommended by the 2020 DBIR. As the report’s findings reinforce, password management coupled with multifactor authentication can reduce the threat of breach while keeping employees productive.