2018 security threat report

Assessing nine years of cyber security vulnerabilities and exploits

Finding the right words to describe the magnitude of cyber security today is like trying to define the size and splendor of the Grand Canyon to someone unfamiliar with the natural wonder of the world. News of massive data breaches continues to make headlines. Among the largest breaches to date, one of the major consumer credit reporting agencies announced last year that hackers accessed its store of Social Security numbers, driver’s license data, birth dates and other personal information on more than 140 million consumers. A decade ago, such news would have been unimaginable. But sadly, over the last several months, disclosures of significant cyber security breaches have become routine as organizations increasingly rely on vulnerable digital technologies and third-party service providers.

At the same time, cyber criminals are becoming more creative and sophisticated. New cyber threats emerge daily that put any number of business systems at risk, and companies face a monumental challenge to keep pace with the threats and safeguard their data, particularly their “crown jewels.” It’s no surprise that cyber security is the chief concern not only for CIOs and IT departments, but also for executive-level management and boards of directors.

This report aims to help organizations address and understand the cyber security landscape by exploring and detailing the most common digital threats today. Since 2009, Protiviti security labs in the United States have performed more than 500 in-depth security scans on behalf of a broad range of organizations to test and assess their IT systems and infrastructure for cyber security risks. Keeping the organizations anonymous, we have compiled and quantified the vulnerability and threat discoveries in our data, offering insights and trends regarding the types of threats organizations are most likely to face, the most frequently perpetrated cyber crimes, the recent acceleration of attacks, and trends in cyber attacks by industry and size, among other views.

In addition, we provide insight into the root causes underlying the vulnerabilities and practical guidance on how companies can protect their information.

In these times of digital treachery, we hope you find this report useful.

Key calls to action we define include:

01 Strong permission and user access controls

02 Employee security awareness

03 Patch management

04 System configuration management

05 Periodic penetration testing


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