Cybercriminals shifted faraway from stealing individual consumers’ information in 2020 to specialize in bigger, more profitable attacks on businesses, consistent with a report from the fraud Resource Center.
The nonprofit, which supports victims of identity crime, found that the amount of U.S. data breaches fell 19% in 2020 to 1,108. But the amount of individual victims of such cybercrimes fell 66% compared with the year prior.
Ransomware and phishing attacks are now the well-liked sort of data theft because they require less effort and generate bigger payouts. The ITRC said that one ransomware attack can generate the maximum amount of revenue in minutes as many individual fraud attempts over months or years.
According to cybersecurity firm Cove ware, the typical ransomware payout has grown from $10,000 per event in 2018 to quite $233,000 per event in 2020.
However, experts urge consumers to not disappoint their guard.
According to the ITRC report released Thursday, even with the decline, there have been still 300.5 million individuals impacted by data breaches in 2020. Although this figure may include repeats, where an individual is victimized multiple times.
“People should understand that this problem isn’t departure ,” said Eva Velasquez, ITRC’s president and CEO. “Cybercriminals are simply shifting their tactics to seek out a replacement thanks to attack businesses and consumers.”
One rising trend is attacks on third parties, like a vendor, that might yield access to multiple organizations through one attack. Often, the organization is smaller, with weaker security measures than the businesses they work for.
Additionally, the pandemic may have fueled some changes, with employees working remotely and potentially exposing their company networks to criminals. There was also a rise in unemployment fraud as cybercriminals tapped into those systems, which were overwhelmed with claims and new protocols.
Velasquez urged consumers to stay vigilant in protecting their personal and professional information. Criminals will still use personal information albeit the means by which they obtain it’s changed.
“We aren’t out of the woods,” she said. “It’s not time for consumers to breathe a sigh of relief.”