Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report

Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report


The report highlights a significant increase in the successful and attempted targeting of C-level executives as a means of gaining access to organisations. Possible explanations for this finding cite the limited time executives have for decision-making, and the lack of clarity and education the c-suite holds over possible threats.


Pull up a chair with the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR). The statements you will read in the pages that follow are data-driven, either by the incident corpus that is the foundation of this publication, or by non-incident data sets contributed by several security vendors.

This report is built upon analysis of 41,686 security incidents, of which 2,013 were confirmed data breaches. We will take a look at how results are changing (or not) over the years as well as digging into the overall threat landscape and the actors, actions, and assets that are present in breaches. Windows into the most common pairs of threat actions and affected assets also are provided. This affords the reader with yet another means to analyze breaches and to find commonalities above and beyond the incident classification patterns that you may already be acquainted with.

Fear not, however. The nine incident classification patterns are still around, and we continue to focus on how they correlate to industry. In addition to the nine primary patterns, we have created a subset of data to pull out financially-motivated social engineering (FMSE) attacks that do not have a goal of malware installation. Instead, they are more focused on credential theft and duping people into transferring money into adversary-controlled accounts. In addition to comparing industry threat profiles to each other, individual industry sections are once again front and center.

Joining forces with the ever-growing incident/breach corpus, several areas of research using non-incident data sets such as malware blocks, results of phishing training, and vulnerability scanning are also utilized. Leveraging, and sometimes combining, disparate data sources (like honeypots and internet scan research) allows for additional data-driven context.

It is our charge to present information on the common tactics used by attackers against organizations in your industry. The purpose of this study is not to rub salt in the wounds of information security, but to contribute to the “light” that raises awareness and provides the ability to learn from the past. Use it as another arrow in your quiver to win hearts, minds, and security budget. We often hear that this is “required reading” and strive to deliver actionable information in a manner that does not cause drowsiness, fatigue, or any other adverse side effects.

We continue to be encouraged and energized by the coordinated data sharing by our 73 data sources, 66 of which are organizations external to Verizon. This community of data contributors represents an international group of public and private entities willing to support this annual publication. We again thank them for their support, time, and, of course, DATA.

We all have wounds, none of us knows everything, let’s learn from each other.

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