Over 22 bn records exposed in data breaches in 2020: Report

New Delhi: Over 22 billion records were exposed worldwide amid 730 publicly disclosed data breaches in 2020, a new report revealed on Friday.

Thirty-five percent of breaches were linked to ransomware attacks, resulting in tremendous financial cost, while 14 per cent of breaches were the result of email compromises, according to an analysis of breach data by cyber exposure company Tenable’s Security Response Team (SRT) from January through October last year.

One of the overarching themes of the threat landscape in 2020 was that threat actors relied on unpatched vulnerabilities in their attacks as well as chaining together multiple vulnerabilities as part of their attacks.

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“Every day, cybersecurity professionals in India and the rest of the world are faced with new challenges and vulnerabilities that can put their organisations at risk,” said Satnam Narang, Staff Research Engineer at Tenable.

“The 18,358 vulnerabilities disclosed in 2020 alone reflects a new normal and a clear sign that the job of a cyber defender is only getting more difficult as they navigate the ever-expanding attack surface,” Narang added.

From 2015 to 2020, the number of reported common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) increased at an average annual percentage growth rate of 36.6 per cent.

In 2020, 18,358 CVEs were reported, representing a 6 per cent increase over the 17,305 reported in 2019, and a 183 per cent increase over the 6,487 disclosed in 2015.

“Pre-existing vulnerabilities in virtual private network (VPN) solutions — many of which were initially disclosed in 2019 or earlier — continue to remain a favorite target for cybercriminals and nation-state groups,” the report mentioned.

Web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge are the primary target for zero-day vulnerabilities, accounting for over 35 per cent of all zero-day vulnerabilities exploited in the wild, it added.

“In 2021, it’s essential that we have the tools, awareness and intelligence to effectively reduce risk and eliminate blind spots. It’s only through looking at where we’ve come from that we can effectively plan for what lies ahead,” Narang noted.

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