Cybercrime evolves as criminal gangs join forces with spies – report

Hackers targeting sensitive information or stealing from retailers work at such speed that customers often notice data breaches first – and for the first time, cybercrime is being committed by hackers ‘teaming up’ with spies, Verizon reports.

Hackers have increased the speed at which they operate, while organizations struggle to keep pace as cybercriminals target new technologies and new vulnerabilities, according to Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigations report.

PC World reports that hackers targeted web applications as a major cybercrime target – and point-of-sale intrusions, such as the attack on Target reported by We Live Security, became a major part of the landscape in 2013.

Finance remained the major target for hackers, according to ZDNet’s report, with 465 data breaches. But other sectors were not immune – the public sector suffered 175 such breaches, retail 148, and accommodation 137.

Despite a spate of headlines about cyber-espionage around the world, the main motivation of attackers remained purely financial. There was a marked  increase in the number of espionage incidents, with a large number originating from Eastern Europe, but chief investigator Brian Sarlin said this was largely due to the increased number of data sources Verizon had at its disposal this year.

“We do see a slight merging between the classic organized criminal and the espionage crook,” said Sarlin, saying that while 87% of espionage incidents were traceable to governments, 11% were the work of ‘traditional’ organized cybercrime gangs, according to a Reuters report.

“The most disturbing trend we are seeing among the data is that hackers are getting better at their jobs and the security community is not improving fast enough to keep up in the fight against cybercrime,” said Wade Baker of Verizon.

PC  World reported that Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report covered 1,367 confirmed data breaches, with information provided by law enforcement, private firms and computer emergency response teams.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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