May 19, 2020 / 4:10 AM / 12 days ago

Financial gain trumps espionage as top motivator in cyber attacks: report

Silhouette of mobile device user is seen next to a screen projection of binary code are seen in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Money trumped spying as the top motivator for data breaches last year, according to Verizon’s annual report on cyber crimes published on Tuesday.

About nine out of 10 breaches were financially motivated, based on an examination of more than 32,000 incidents and nearly 4,000 confirmed break-ins in 81 countries, the report said.

Verizon Business 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report found that confirmed data breaches doubled from the prior year. As the coronavirus pandemic has forced people indoors, cyber attacks on businesses are expected to climb.

The report found that 86% of breaches were for money, not for purposes of spying. Credential theft, phishing and compromising business emails caused 67% of the cyber attacks.

As more businesses moved to web-based solutions, so did hackers. According to the report, breaches on web and cloud applications rose to 43%, double the previous year.

Companies like Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Salesforce (CRM.N) have extended working remotely to at least the rest of the year, with more businesses expected to follow suit. Verizon Business Group CEO Tami Erwin said the “digital transformation” to the work-from-home model during the coronavirus pandemic has presented a number of security red flags.

“A lot of people ended up sending workers to work from home without really thinking through what were some of the security elements in the future,” Erwin told Reuters. “I think employees working from home are probably more vulnerable to attacks.”

Erwin said businesses can protect themselves from cyber attacks by keeping employees educated on phishing and other fraudulent tactics to access sensitive information.

Reporting by Arriana McLymore; Editing by Dan Grebler

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