The recent Verizon Data Breach Investigations report shows that global cybercrime is on the rise. It’s a frightening prospect at first glance, but the good news is that the best line of defense may not be as complicated as you think.

The Verizon report, which gathers information on 5,358 breaches from around the world, highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic moved many business operations into the cloud and the remote work environment provided the ideal platform for cybercriminals to exploit.

Luckily, cybercriminals didn’t turn to new techniques, so protecting yourself, and your employer, doesn’t require a complete rethink or approach.

Cybercrime Report Data

The report showed that phishing pumped up its frequency to being present in 36% of breaches, up from 25% last year. Phishing most commonly happens via emails or text messages that contain fraudulent links to malicious attachments or cloned websites. When you try to open these links or attachments using your username and password, the hackers can get your credentials or gain access to the company’s intellectual property.

These data breaches cost consumers and businesses an average of $21,659, with 95 percent of incidents falling between $826 and $653,587.

In addition, 61% of breaches involved credential data with 95% of organizations impacted by credential stuffing attacks experienced between 637 and 3.3 billion malicious login attempts last year.

Misrepresentation, a form of social engineering that occurs when a hacker poses as a trusted source – such as a member of an organization’s executive team – to convince people to give up their credentials was also 15 times higher last year compared to the year before.

Suzanne Widup, co-author of the above-mentioned report and senior principal of Threat Intel for Verizon Business, said credentials can give criminals access to your organization by pretending to be someone who works there.

Hackers can look like someone internal and may not set the alarm bells off. Unfortunately, many people reuse their credentials on multiple sites, which amplifies the impact of bad actors who have stolen those credentials.

The report cites human negligence as the biggest threat to security. Hackers tap into human cognitive biases to sway users’ decisions based on irrelevant or misleading information.

How to Help Protect Yourself From Cybercrime

The best way to protect yourself isn’t through some high-tech solution, it much more straightforward.

By changing how you approach passwords, keeping your browser updated, installing the right antivirus, and proactively monitoring your identity and credit for unusual activity, you can massively help reduce your vulnerability to this increasingly prevalent form of cybercrime.