Symantec report details increases in the occurrence of ‘mega breaches’

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While dormant for much of last year, cybercriminals managed to turn 2013 into the worst year on record for data theft. Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report reveals that cybercriminals are planning for months prior to attempting cyber heists, leaving smaller scores by the wayside in favour of larger hits.

There was a  62 percent rise in the amount of data breaches compared to 2012, which has caused more than 552 million identities to be revealed online. By way of comparison, 2012’s single data breach led to the theft of 93 million identities.

Symantec’s report shows that the size and frequency of large-scale data breaches are increasing, which puts large amounts of private data at risk. Targeted attacks, according to the report, increased 91 percent and were, on average, 3 times longer compared to 2012. Public relations and personal assistants were the most targeted groups, as they are used by hackers to gain access to more attractive targets.

Symantec’s Sheldon Hand said “While the level of sophistication continues to grow among attackers, what was surprising last year was their willingness to be a lot more patient – waiting to strike until the reward is bigger and better.”

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