Acronis’ End-of-Year Cyberthreats Report Finds Average Cost of Data Breaches Expected to Surpass USD 5 M Per Incident in 2023

Between July and October, Acronis found that the proportion of phishing attacks has risen by 1.3x, accounting for 76% of all attacks – an 18% increase from a previous Acronis report released earlier this year.

Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection, released its latest cyberthreats and trends report for the second half of 2022 which found that phishing and the use of MFA fatigue attacks, an extremely effective method used in high-profile breaches, are on the rise. Conducted by Acronis’ Cyber Protection Operation Center, the report provides an in-depth analysis of the cyberthreat landscape including ransomware threats, phishing, malicious websites, software vulnerabilities and a security forecast for 2023.

Of note, the report found that threats from phishing and malicious emails have increased by 60% and the average cost of a data breach is expected to reach $5 million by next year. The research team who authored the report also saw social engineering attacks jump in the last four months, accounting for 3% of all attacks. Leaked or stolen credentials, which allow attackers to easily execute cyberattacks and ransomware campaigns, were the cause of almost half of reported breaches in H1 2022.

“The last few months have proven to be as complex as ever – with new threats constantly emerging and malicious actors continuing to use the same proven playbook for big payouts,” said Candid Wüest, Acronis VP of Cyber Protection Research. “Organizations must prioritize all-encompassing solutions when looking to mitigate phishing and other hacking attempts in the new year. Attackers are evolving, using some of the tools, like MFA, that we rely on to protect our employees and businesses against us.”

Report Highlights: Threat Landscape Sees New Challenges

As security tactics and the technologies associated with them evolve, so do the threat actors trying to break into organizations and their ecosystems. The constant feed of ransomware, phishing and unpatched vulnerabilities demonstrate how crucial it is for businesses to reevaluate their security strategies.

Ransomware Continues to Worsen:
  • Ransomware continues to be the number one threat to enterprises and businesses including government, healthcare and organizations in other sectors.
  • Each month in the second half of this year, ransomware gangs were adding 200-300 new victims to their combined list.
  • The market of ransomware operators was dominated by 4-5 players. By the end of Q3 the total number of compromised targets published for the main operators in 2022 were as follows:
LockBit1,157
Hive192
BlackCat177
Black Basta89
  • 576 publicly mentioned ransomware compromises in Q3, a slight increase from Q2.
  • The number of ransomware incidents decreased slightly in the end of Q3 and the beginning of Q4, after a high during the summer months. From July to August, Acronis saw a 49% increase in blocked ransomware attacks globally, followed by a decrease of 12.9% in September and 4.1% in October.
  • There is a shift towards more data exfiltration as the main actors are continuing to professionalize their operations. Most of the large players have expanded to MacOS and Linux and are also looking at the cloud environment.
Phishing and Malicious Emails Remain Successful for Threat Actors:
  • The most-attacked countries in terms of malware per user in Q3 of 2022 were South Korea, Jordan and China.
  • An average of 7.7% of endpoints tried to access some malicious URLs in Q3 2022, slightly reduced from 8.3% in Q2.
  • The country with the most clients experiencing malware detections in October 2022 was the United States with 22.1%, followed by Germany with 8.8% and Brazil with 7.8% which are very similar to the Q2 numbers, except for US and Germany which had a small increase, especially in financial trojans.
  • Spam rates have increased by over 15% — reaching 30.6% of all inbound traffic.
  • Email-borne attacks are targeting virtually all industries. By analyzing the top 50 most attacked organizations, it seems that the most attacked industries are: Construction; Retail; Real estate; Professional Services (Services and computers & IT), Finance
  • • Between July and October 2022, the proportion of phishing attacks has risen by 1.3x reaching 76% of all email attacks (up from 58% in H1’2022). This rise is on the expense of the proportion of malware attacks.
Unpatched Vulnerabilities Prove Fruitful into the Second Half of the Year:
  • Acronis continues to see and warn businesses and home users that new zero-day vulnerabilities and old unpatched ones are the top vector of attack to compromise systems.
  • While software vendors try to keep up and release patches regularly, quite often it is still not enough — a lot of attacks succeed due to unpatched vulnerabilities.
  • Microsoft:

– Another phishing campaign targeting Microsoft did impersonate “the Microsoft team” and tried to bait the recipients into adding their memo text onto an online memorial board “in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II” when she passed away in September.

– Another large-scale phishing campaign was spotted targeting credentials for Microsoft’s M365 email services. It is aimed at fin-tech, lending, accounting, insurance, and Federal Credit Union organizations in the US, UK, New Zealand, and Australia.

Download a copy of the full Acronis End-of-Year Cyberthreats Report 2022