Business needs to be more proactive in its approach to security in the face of increased insider threats and customised malware, says Verizon Business. Both types of attack have increased in the past year, according to the 2010 Verizon Data Breach Investigations report in partnership with the US Secret Service. This is the first time private and commercial data has been combined in a data breach report, said Matthijs Van der Wel, head of the EMEA forensics team at Verizon Business.

The data from the financial crime investigations from the Secret Service has enabled a broader and deeper perspective on cybercrime, he said. “Most breaches are caused by external sources, but we now see a lot more cases that involve insiders combined with social engineering that we did not see in our previous data set,” said Van der Wel. The data also highlights an increased use of customised malware in smaller attacks to avoid detection by anti-virus and intrusion detection software, he said. Cases involving insiders show data theft is often preceded by a series of minor policy violations, the research shows.

Key findings of the 2010 report:

Most data breaches (69%) caused by external sources

Many breaches (48%) involved privilege misuse

Nearly all data is breached from servers and online applications

Most breaches (85%) were not difficult to carry out

Most victims (87%) missed evidence of security breaches in their log files