Cyber News Roundup: That data breach cost how much?

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Here is some sobering news from IBM Security. Whether it’s a small security leak or a mega breach, the cost for companies that suffer from the wrath of hackers isn’t for the weak. According to the IBM study which was released on July 11, 10 of the 11 mega breaches were criminal attacks.

As discussed in Gizmodo’s ‘Mega’ Data Breaches Cost Companies a Staggering Fortune, IBM Study Finds, “While the average cost of a data breach globally hovers just under $4 million—a 6.4 percent increase over the past year—costs associated with so-called mega breaches (an Equifax or Target, for example) can reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars. The average cost of a breach involving 1 million records is estimated at around $40 million, while those involving 50 million records or more can skyrocket up to $350 million in damages.”

The biggest concern is that it’s typical that a mega breach will go unnoticed for almost an entire year.

Other statistics from the article include:

  • The average time to identify a data breach is 197 days, and the average time to contain a data breach, once identified, is 69 days.
  • Companies that contained a breach in less than 30 days saved more than $1 million compared to those that took more than 30 days ($3.09 million vs. $4.25 million average total).
  • Each lost or stolen record costs roughly $148 on average, but having an incident response team (surprising, not every company does) can reduce the cost per record by as much as $14.

What can AI do for you?

Every week it seems like there is another headline about a new malware or ransomware attack. According to research firm IDC, businesses are spending close to $100 billion on a variety of security products in order to protect themselves. The problem is that the criminals seem to always be one step ahead of the IT professionals who are tasked with defending company and government information.

As noted in BizTech’s The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity, “Most security products are focused on understanding malware or attacks. This is an unbounded problem and, as a result, we are always playing catch-up with malicious actors. The number of malware and fileless attacks run into the billions, with hundreds of millions getting added each year. On top of that, the bulk of these products focus on infiltration prevention. By homing in on preventing infiltration almost exclusively, we are conceding the asymmetry advantage to the attackers — while they just have to get it right once, we must get it right every time.”

Part of the challenge is that going after the crooks is not easy because the bad guys:

  • Are good at what they do
  • Don’t follow any specific rules
  • There isn’t much documentation on malware or attacks

One glimmer of hope might be found in using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Why? According to BizTech:

  • Rules exists for the behavior of good software (there a lot of them, but AI/ML can take advantage of them, update them and improve security as a result)
  • There is plenty of data labeled “data for goodware”

Since hackers are always changing how they operate, it stands to reason that detecting patterns (which AI and ML do) might help level the playing field.

Five cybercrimes on the rise

In the first half of 2018, there haven’t been as many government leaks or ransomware attacks as in 2017. That’s the good news. The bad news? According to Wired’s The Worst Cybersecurity Breaches of 2018 So Far, while IT leaders are trying to combat the daily onslaught of hackers and others who are up to no good, there are many high-profile security breaches that have occurred, and it doesn’t appear that cybercrime will be slowing down any time soon.

The article highlights five major areas that are cause for concern.

  • Russian hackers going after American utility companies.
  • More than 300 universities, both in the U.S. and abroad, have been hacked to the tune of 31 stolen terabytes of data that’s estimated to be worth $3 billion in intellectual property.
  • Data exposure, which is when “data is stored and defended improperly such that it is exposed on the open internet and could be easily accessed by anyone who comes across it.”
  • Under Armour’s MyFitnessPal app, where usernames, email addresses, and passwords from the app’s roughly 150 million users where stolen.
  • VPNFilter which is malware that can be used to coordinate the infected devices to create a massive botnet.

 Cyber Oregon partner blog posts of interest