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Cybercriminals Shift Targets Away from Individuals

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Cybercriminals targeted individuals’ information less in 2020, focusing on more profitable attacks, a new report found.

Threat actors focused on ransomware and phishing attacks directed at organizations, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center’s (ITRC) annual data breach report.

One ransomware attack can generate as much revenue in minutes as hundreds of individual identity theft attempts over months or years, the ITRC says.

U.S. data breaches dropped 19% in 2020, with the number of individual victims falling 66% compared to the prior year, the report said. 

Even with the decline, there were still 300.5 million individual records impacted by data breaches in 2020. 

“People should understand that this problem is not going away,” Eva Velasquez, ITRC’s president and CEO, told the Associated Press. “Cybercriminals are simply shifting their tactics to find a new way to attack businesses and consumers.”

What You Can Do

People, especially high-net-worth individuals, need to make cyber-hygiene a habit to help stay safe from cybercriminals. Here are a few easy tips to adopt from the ITRC recommendations:

  1. Use a secure virtual private network (VPN) to connect to the Internet. VPN’s help mask your online activity.
  2. Set up two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor (MFA) authentication on every online account you can (email, financial, shopping, etc.). 2FA or MFA adds an extra layer of protection to log into accounts, and will make it harder for a hacker to gain access.
  3. Log out of your accounts when you’re finished. This is an easy habit to start and will make it harder for someone to share or steal your information. 

Read all nine of the ITRC’s cyber-hygiene tips here.