2017 Cost of Data Breach Study

Last year IBM and Ponemon Institute researched the average total cost of a data breach. It became clear that the average total cost of a data breach is $3.63 million. Are you interested in reading more about this research? Fill in the form to receive the full study.The average cost per stolen record went down this year by 10%, from $158 in 2016 to $141 in 2017. This sounds like good news, but the amount of breaches that took place went up by 1.8%. On average the amount of stolen records per data breach was 24.000. 

$141 is the average cost per lost or stolen records

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    About SecurIT

    Founded in 1999, SecurIT has over 18 years of extensive experience of designing, implementing, maintaining large Identity Management/Governance infrastructures. With more than 30 specialists permanently employed in the Netherlands SecurIT offers its customers high quality consultancy, implementation, management and support services (24*7). 

    GDPR and PSD2

    For professionals in security, identity management and access management (IAM) 2018 will be a very important year. As of May 25th all companies and other organizations must comply with the new GDPR regulations and as of Saturday January 13th PDS2 will be a fact of lite for the entire EU. When thinking of customer privacy and processing consumer data, obligations pile up. The question is: are these opportunities or barriers for business development?

    In co-operation with partner IBM, SecurIT invited professionals for a ‘round table event’ end of last year in the Boardroom of the Rembrandt Tower in Amsterdam. Those attending discussed the impact of the new legislation on IAM.

    The event was kicked-off by Angélique van Oortmarssen (KPMG) and Sonny Duijn (ABN AMRO). Ms. Van Oortmarssen spoke on GDPR and mr. Duijn shared his views on how PSD2 will impact retail business.

    After these two short briefings the conversation concentrated on how companies need to adapt their own IT-infrastructure and open access digital platforms to benefit from the new opportunities GDPR and PSD2 will offer. Especially the impact on the financial services sector and retail was discussed.

    An article by Sonny Duijn on the impact of PSD2 on retail is available here. A publication by Angélique van Oortmarssen can be downloaded here.

    Download the full Round Table article

    SecurIT Belgium has been renamed to TrustBuilder Corporation

    Our Belgium sister company SecurIT b.v.b.a. has some exciting news to share with you. Just before 2018 they announced that SecurIT b.v.b.a will be renamed to TrustBuilder Corporation N.V.
    Which means that their main focus will be further developing and selling the product. TrustBuilder Corporation in Gent and SecurIT in Amsterdam will remain sister companies.

    The name and type of the company have but changed but it’s not a new company. This means all existing contracts will remain unchanged. All customers and suppliers will be notified about this change.

    To achieve the short term goals for 2018 a new board of directors has been formed for TrustBuilder Corporation in Gent:

    Walter Beyen                   President of the Board

    Marc Vanmaele               Board member and CEO

    Nils Meulemans               Board member

    Rob Bus                           Board member

    Jan Valcke                        Board member (independent, non-shareholder)

    The mission of SecurIT in Amsterdam will remain unchanged: Selling, implementing and supporting the best Identity & Access Management software of third parties such as: IBM, CyberArk and TrustBuilder.

    For more information regarding this change and TrustBuilder, please visit: https://trustbuilder.com/

    For the full press release, please download the following PDF: https://goo.gl/oUkMPu

    The Staggering Numbers Behind Breaches of PII and PHI

    September 19, 2016|Michael Janeiro

    Experts in the field of cybersecurity insist the world is in the midst of a cybercrime era. Nobody knows when or even if this era will diminish to the point where it’s not a challenge to the day-to-day operations of every business, government agency, nonprofit organization, and institution.

    What is generally agreed upon is that trying to prevent and ultimately dealing with the aftermath of data breaches are now standard costs of doing business.

    No matter whose study you review on the risks to your organization’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and Protected Health Information (PHI), the results show an increased risk of breaches related to hacking and an increased cost to remedy the consequences of data breaches.

    A $4 million problem

    The recently released 2016 Cost of Data Breach study found that the average consolidated total cost of a data breach is $4 million. The 11th annual edition of the study sponsored by IBM Security and conducted by Ponemon Institute also found that the average cost incurred on each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information is $158.

    In addition, there is a 26 percent likelihood of a company or organization experiencing a data breach involving at least 10,000 records in the next 24 months.

    In healthcare, a $6 million problem

    The statistics are even more alarming when it comes to healthcare-specific data.

    According to Ponemon Institute’s Sixth Annual Benchmark Study on Privacy & Security of Healthcare Data, about 90 percent of healthcare organizations represented in the study experienced a data breach in the past two years. About 45 percent suffered more than five breaches in the same period.

    The study also estimated that the healthcare industry is shelling out $6.2 billion a year to pay the various costs related to data breaches. On average, covered entities are paying $2.2 million as the result of breaches, while their business associates and third parties have to pay $1 million on average for their role in healthcare-related breaches.

    Those costs include lost business, fines from regulators, investigating the cause of the breach, and restitution to affected consumers.

    Criminal attacks — most notably ransomware, malware, and denial-of-service (DOS) attacks — account for about half of healthcare data breaches.

    It’s not just large regional hospital organizations and health insurance companies that are falling victim.

    Go to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) so-called “Wall of Shame” website, and you’ll find plenty of local dentist practices, chiropractic centers, and independently owned pharmacies that suffered data breaches potentially affecting a few hundred or few thousand patient records.

    The HHS’s Breach Notification Rule requires healthcare providers to promptly notify the agency, affected individuals, and in some cases the media if there is loss, theft, or breach of PHI of at least 500 individuals. All such reports are then listed on the OCR’s Breach Portal.

    One analysis of the OCR website found 253 such breaches in 2015 that compromised a total of 112 million records. In addition, about one in five of last year’s healthcare breaches fell into the category of “hacking/IT incident,” including 9 of the top 10 breaches reported.

    Why is healthcare data so sought after by hackers? According to some reports, each individual healthcare record is worth $10 in the criminal market, or up to 20 times more than a stolen credit card number. Other estimates place the value between $20 and $70.

    While that may not seem like much to commit a crime for, consider how much 5,000 healthcare records are worth at say, $15 a record: $75,000. Target an easy-to-breach entity and that’s $75,000 with minimal effort.

    How to minimize risk and cost of breaches

    Among the lessons the Ponemon Institute shared in its recent report were ways companies can both minimize the risk and cost of suffering a data breach.

    Data loss prevention controls and activities cited in the study include encryption, endpoint security solutions, and participating in a threat intelligence sharing platform to research security threats, aggregate intelligence, collaborate with peers.

    Data governance initiatives that can potentially reduce the cost of data breach include incident response plans, employment of a Chief Information Security Officer, employee training and awareness programs, and a business continuity management strategy.


    By the time we sang “Auld Lang Syne” in 2015 we had experienced a year of unparalleled cybercrime. In this article today I’ll look at the current cyber security landscape, to see if there has been any improvement in the year to date. Or if we are likely to see continued cyber attacks of the levels seen in the breaches of the Office of Personnel Management (22 million records stolen) and Ashley Madison (37 million records lost). As our mid-year approaches, we can glimpse back at the last 5 months and perhaps use this to predict where we will be by the end of 2016, hopefully in a better place.

    Cyber Threat Landscape to June 2016

    I am about to make a statement which is slightly at odds with the view of cyber security to date. I believe that cybercriminals may have become more predictable. This predictability is coming out of their use of successful strategies and is an expected pattern of behavior – “if it works, why fix it”. If you think about it, cybercrime is a business; it makes money… lots of money. If you hit on a successful business model, you use it. Cybercriminals seem to have found a very successful model in the guise of ransomware and they are milking this technique in 2016 for all they can get. Phishing too continues to make the grade as a first class hacking tool, being heavily used in the more targeted version, spear phishing. 

    Ransomware: In 2016, so far, we have seen ransomware become the cybercriminal weapon of choice. McAfee in their 2016 Threat Predictions report, predicted ransomware would be a major threat in 2016, and so far they have been proven right. In the last 5 months new ransomware families, such as ‘Locky’ have appeared, causing mayhem. Locky was the ransomware behind the recent Kentucky based Methodist Hospital cyber attack and you can see from Ransomware Tracker that Locky has been the main type of ransomware used this year.

    Perhaps proof of the movement to a ransomware based malware model can be seen in two major modifications to its use case:

    1.     The changing profile of ransomware to include mobile infection. An example of this in action is the update of a previously very successful Android based Trojan known as Android.SmsSpy.88. This malware was previously used to steal credentials by spying on SMS texts and calls. The malware has now morphed into a type of mobile ransomware, which locks your phone and request payment to unlock it.

    2.     The addition to the hackers toolset of ‘Malware as a Service’, making it easy for even novice hackers to use as a money making service.

    Phishing and email borne malware: Ransomware and other malware need a mode of transmission and phishing is as popular with the cybercriminal this year, as it was in 2015.  Kaspersky Labs who keep a watch on cybersecurity trends have seen an increase in emails containing malicious attachments in the first quarter of 2016. 

    Business email compromise (BEC) attacks are also increasing this year. This is where specific business users, usually financial executives and HR, are targeted with phishing emails – BEC being a variant on spear phishing. The emails look like they’ve come from high-ranking executives in the company asking the recipient (often a company accountant) to urgently transfer monies to a bank account (owned by the cybercriminal). The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center report 2015, have placed BEC as one of their ‘hot topics’, with losses, due to BEC attacks, of over $263 million last year.

    Again, cybercriminals know when they are onto a good thing and will continue to use phishing as a means to get into your systems. However, they will also morph into new ways of using social engineering to extract your login credentials. We’ve recently seen phishing become SMiShing. This method uses a mobile text to send links to a spoof site that, once clicked on, harvests your login credentials.

    DDoS: In the first quarter of 2016 the USA was one of the three largest attack victims of DDoS attacks, China and South Korea being the other two. Many of the attacks are politically motivated, such as the one against Donald Trump’s website, carried out by the group ‘New World Hackers’, earlier this year.  But it isn’t just political motivation driving DDoS attacks. These types of attacks are a distraction method, to take security personnel’s eye off the ball, fixing the DDoS attack, whilst hackers then use this opportunity to insert malware. One of the most recent victims of a DDoS attack is the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) who had a DDoS attack on May 26.

    The Insider Threat: Insider threats are as much a social issue as a security one and we can only expect these types of threats to remain consistent throughout 2016.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is even predicting that we will see an increase in cyber security breaches caused by insiders with political motivation – these threats being targeted against critical infrastructures and utilities. Vulnerable focus areas such as privilege misuse are one of the mainstays of the insider threat – the 2016 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR) defining it as the second most common incident type.

    Which Industries Are Being Targeted?

    In a nutshell, everyone is being targeted: Individuals, independents, SMB’s, not-for-profits, right up to the largest corporates; if money, data and credentials are there for the taking, you will be a target. The cybercriminal has settled into their international role as chief rogue and are expected to cost global business a staggering $2.1 trillion by 2019 – that’s 4X the 2015 costs, according to Juniper Research. Juniper also stated that that 60% of all data breaches in 2015 occurred in North America. Cybercrime has become the next big industry sector, tax-free, admittedly. 

    In terms of who will be next on the cybercriminals ‘to do’ list, we should expect ransomware to up its game in terms of target reach. Until recently, the types of monies exchanged were relatively small, the bitcoin equivalent of a few hundred dollars. The recent attack at the Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in LA resulted in $17,000 being extorted. However, it’s likely that this is the tip of the iceberg and larger enterprises will start to feel the force of ransomware. Larger organizations will be asked for ransoms that are much higher than what we have been used to so far. I’m watching for the million-dollar ransom to hit the news.

    As for which sectors are in the cybercriminals sights, IBM’s X-Force recently stated that healthcare was the most targeted of all industries. However, any industry that has personally identifying information (PII) is at a high risk. We can expect industry sectors such as retail to continue to be hit, following on from the success of the Target Corp. breach. This is especially the case if the extended and complex supply chain used by retail is not risk managed – the perfect storm of phishing and poor authentication making poorly managed partner eco-systems easy prey. To back this claim up, the NTT Group 2016 Global Threat Intelligence Report, found that the retail industry had 2.7X the number of attacks as financial clients did in 2015.

     As cyber security becomes big business in its own right and the cybercriminal becomes the cybercrime entrepreneur, we can expect the next half of 2016 to bring even more of the same issues we have seen over the last few months. Ransomware, spyware and Advanced Persistent Threats are already brewing and ready to siphon off money and data. The way forward is to be knowledgeable about the problem. If we prepare ourselves and put in place, strategies to identify, detect and respond to cyber security threats, not just in our own organization, but with anyone we do business with, then by the end of 2016 we may well have put a dent in the cybercriminals armor.