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Silhouette of a man. Photo: Alexander Ryumin / TASS via Getty Images

The number of cyber incidents globally doubled to 159,700 last year, according to the Online Trust Alliance’s (OTA) Cyber Incident & Breach Trends Report released Thursday.

Why it matters: Given "that most incidents are not reported, this number could easily exceed 350,000," Jeff Wilbur, director of the OTA initiative at the Internet Society writes.

More from the report:

  • “This is more than 30 times the number of breaches alone, so provides a very different perspective on the threat landscape."
  • “93% were avoidable.”
  • The "rise in the number of incidents was primarily driven by a doubling in ransomware infections."
  • But "there was growth in all facets, indicating that organizations must take a comprehensive view of their defenses.”
  • “2017 marked another ‘worst year ever’ in data breaches and cyber incidents around the world,” Wilbur said in a statement.
  • 1 new thing: Ransomware denial-of-service attacks (RDoS). In this operation, hackers threaten a DDoS attack unless a ransom is paid.

But, but, but: “With all the technology, it’s easy to forget that users are the most important gatekeepers to your systems and data. Equipping them to make good decisions and instilling a culture of security…(through mechanisms such as multi-factor authentication and limiting access levels appropriate to the role) and monitoring systems for anomalous behavior can go a long way toward securing your systems.”

The report analyzes threat intelligence data on data breaches, ransomware targeting, business email compromises, DDoS, and critical infrastructure hacks from Cybersecurity Ventures, the FBI, Malwarebytes, the Ponemon Institute, Proofpoint, Risk Based Security, Symantec, and Verizon.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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