Report finds 'dumbing down' of hack attacks

A report by Verizon has found that data-breach incidents reached an all-time high in 2010, while hackers appeared to be hitting lower-value targets, and stealing less data

Data-breach incidents are at an all-time high, yet the number of records lost in each incident has plummeted by hundreds of millions, according to a report.

Verizon's 2011 Data Breach Investigations Report (PDF) examined some 800 new data-breach incidents in 2010, which is almost double the amount handled by Verizon from 2004 to 2009, according to figures supplied by the US Secret Service and Verizon. However, the report also claimed that the total number of stolen records fell from 361 million in 2008 to 144 million in 2009, and from there to a meagre four million in 2010, based on US data.

Verizon Business investigative response chief Mark Goudie said hackers are hitting lower-value targets in what he described as a "dumbing down" of attacks. "It flies in the wind of the highly-sophisticated attacks like Aurora and Stuxnet... the flashy ones are in the minority, so the key issue for businesses is to worry less about zero-day attacks and more about the simple stuff," he said.

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see Hackers going for the easy game: report on ZDNet Australia.

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