Sontiq’s® 2021 Mid-Year Cybercrime Report Highlights Key Fraud Trends, Significant Data Breaches
Sontiq, the leader in Intelligent Identity Security (IIS) announced the release of new research, the Mid-Year 2021 Cybercrime Report, which leverages its own primary data. The report’s findings highlight five key trends and the 2021 data breaches that pose the highest level of risk to victims.
“Cybercriminals seized on new vulnerabilities created by remote work and the general chaos of the pandemic. Small businesses, in particular, were not as well-equipped to fend off cyberattacks”
The report’s insights were derived from data generated by Sontiq’s call center, Identity Restoration Team, and through BreachIQ™ data breach analysis. Sontiq’s BreachIQ product is powered by a patent-pending, AI-driven system that analyzes more than 1,300 data points of a data breach to assess the risk level and assign a 1 through 10 score.
Jim Van Dyke, Senior Vice President of Financial Wellness at Sontiq and former advisory board member of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said when it comes to consumers’ digital health, the impact of COVID-19 will be felt for a long time. “Cybercriminals seized on new vulnerabilities created by remote work and the general chaos of the pandemic. Small businesses, in particular, were not as well-equipped to fend off cyberattacks,” he said. “Most people do not realize how dangerous these small-scale data breaches can be.”
Sontiq’s Mid-Year 2021 Cybercrime Report highlights the following five cybercrime trends:
- Small business threats. The H1 2021 data breaches that were riskiest to consumers were carried out against SMBs.
- Attack methods. Email compromise and ransomware were the most common attack methods in the top nine data breaches.
- Incident types. Credit card fraud is the leading type of identity crime.
- Senior targeting. At least two of every ten calls to the Sontiq Identity & Fraud Restoration Team in H1 2021 were from senior citizens.
- Family protection. Purchase of family (vs. individual) identity theft protection plans is growing, reflecting the increasing cyber threats against minors and senior citizens.
Nine data breaches were identified by Sontiq’s BreachIQ as the most serious of the year thus far. A score of 10 represents the most serious level of risk to the individuals whose personal data was compromised. To calculate the threat level, the BreachIQ algorithm looks at the data types exposed in the breach. It then assesses how each type is typically used to commit twelve different identity crimes, which range from core financial identity crimes like credit card fraud to less-common incidents like legal impersonation.
“Data breaches are the gateway to more serious identity crimes that can have devastating impacts on people,” explains Eva Velasquez, CEO of Identity Theft Resources Center. “That’s why it’s important that people pay attention to the type of information that has been compromised, not just the size of data breaches.”
In 2021, small, less-widely reported breaches have compromised the most significant levels of personal information. The nine highest-scoring data breaches thus far, according to their BreachIQ score, are:
- Colorado Retina Associates, P.C., Denver, CO – BreachIQ Score: 10
- JLA Professional Services, LLC, Aurora, CO – BreachIQ Score: 10
- Light Tower Financial Strategies, Marblehead, MA – BreachIQ Score: 10
- Maine Drilling & Blasting, Suwanee, GA – BreachIQ Score: 10
- Personal Touch Holding Corp., Lake Success, NY – BreachIQ Score: 10
- Phillip Galyen P.C., Bedford, TX – BreachIQ Score: 9
- Astoria Company LLC, Wilmington, DE – BreachIQ Score: 9
- Overseas Services Corporation, West Palm Beach, FL – BreachIQ Score: 9
- Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services, Gallup, NM – BreachIQ Score: 9