The amount of information lost in data breaches has plummeted in the last two years even though the number of breaches has increased, according to a report from Verizon Business.
Two years ago, the report found that 361 million records had been compromised in data breaches. This year, the figure was just 4 million records – almost a hundred-fold reduction.
The report’s authors hypothesised that this reflects the growing industrialisation of cyber crime. "Financially motivated organised criminals … have created economies of scale by refining standardised, automated, and highly repeatable attacks directed at smaller, vulnerable, and largely homogenous targets," they wrote.
This view is supported by remarks made by Charlie McMurdie, head of the UK e-crime police unit, at a press conference yesterday morning.
McMurdie remarked that the growing availability of so-called ‘cyber kits’ – pre-packaged applications used to conduct cyber crime – has allowed less technically capable individuals to participate.
She also revealed that Ghostmarket, the online cyber criminal market place whose 19 year administrator was sentenced to five years in jail last month, had around 8,000 regular visitors. Customers who acquired cyber kit, credit card details, and more besides were also arrested, she said, many of whom were not "cyber geeks".