World-wide, corporate fraud has hit an all-time high and pushed fraud numbers up with it. For the first time on record, data theft has now surpassed the stealing of physical assets. A little under 30 percent of businesses reported they had suffered information theft, loss or attack in 2017. Around 40 percent of executives reported their companies suffered a virus or worm attack, while the second-most frequently cited attack was email-based phishing.
The news is consistent with a general trend that has been visible and growing since 2012, with 86 percent of firms worldwide reporting at least one cybercrime incident in the last 12 months, according to Kroll’s annual global fraud and risk survey.
The bigger hacks of the year are, of course, the most memorable — WannaCry springs to mind. There are also, notes the Financial Times, concerns about the hardware that undergirds many consumer and corporate electronics — Intel, AMD and ARM have all recently had security flaws in their microchips.
Confidence is also ebbing toward all-time lows. More than half the respondents to Kroll’s survey noted that their firms were “highly or somewhat vulnerable” to information theft — a rise of six percentage points on last year.
The report also pointed out that while theft is the most common, and frightening, way to lose data, it is far from the only way.
“People instinctively think about data being targeted by cyber attacks, but not all threats to information are confined to the digital realm,” said Jason Smolanoff, senior managing director at Kroll. “There is a convergence between physical and digital threats, with issues arising from equipment with sensitive data being stolen or lost, for example, or employees with access to highly sensitive information accidentally or intentionally causing a breach.”