Suffering a cybersecurity breach often leaves a feeling of helplessness. As attacks are usually detected later, individuals and businesses are left to pick up the pieces and burden the costs. However, it does not have to be like this because most attacks are either preventable or fixable before they occur.
In fact, researcher Tetra Defense says eighty-two percent (82%) of all attacks on organizations during Q1 2022 were because of known vulnerabilities that the victims had not patched. In other words, the attacks targeted vulnerabilities that were known about and had received a patch, but that patch had not been applied.
That completely preventable 82% of attacks dominated the cybersecurity space during Q1, far more than human-error lead breaches that led to financial losses (18%). It is worth noting Tetra Defense data looks solely at the United States.
Even so, there is little reason to think the results wouldn't be broadly similar globally. According to the company, organizations failing to use multi-factor authentication (MFA) and leaving credentials too easy to obtain are other major causes of attacks.
To achieve its results, Tetra Defense takes data from the Root Point of Compromise (RPOC) from attacks. This is the first entry point where the attacker gains access to the victim. It is an external exposure targeting a known flaw.
“Incidents caused by unpatched systems cost organizations 54 percent more than those caused by employee error,” the report says.
While you may think an attacker using a public exploit to target a vulnerability is common – and it is – internal IT practices are much more dangerous to an organization. Tetra Defense splits these into two categories:
- External Vulnerabilities: An attacker breaches through a public exploit targeting a known flaw.
- Risky External Exposure: An Attack breaches a faulty IT practice to infiltrate the organization's system.
Remarkably, Risky External Exposure attacks are more common, accounting for 57 percent of organizational losses from attacks during Q1.
“These behaviors are considered ‘risky' because the mitigation relies on an organization's continued security vigilance and willingness to enforce consistent standards over long periods of time,” adds Tetra Defense in the report.
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