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Last year most devastating in cybercrime history

Last year most devastating in cybercrime history

Last year saw the most devastating cyberattacks in history, with cybercriminals planning large heists months in advance, according to computer security firm Symantec.

According to Symantec, in 2013 there was a 62 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of data breaches, resulting in more than 552 million identities being exposed.

“The size and scope of breaches is exploding, putting the trust and reputation of businesses at risk, and increasingly compromising consumers’ personal information – from credit card numbers and medical records to passwords and bank account details,” Symantec said.

“One mega breach can be worth 50 smaller attacks,” said Kevin Haley, director at Symantec Security Response. “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.”

The company said each of the top eight breaches in 2013 resulted in the loss of tens of millions of data records.

“Nothing breeds success like success – especially if you’re a cybercriminal,” said Haley. “The potential for huge paydays means large-scale attacks are here to stay. Companies of all sizes need to re-examine, re-think and possibly re-architect their security posture.”

Symantec said targeted attacks were up 91 per cent and lasted three times longer than recorded in 2012, with personal assistants and those working in public relations being the hardest hit.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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