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May 1, 2024

Post DBIR 2024: 7 Ways to Reduce Your Cyber Risk


The Verizon DBIR is the most anticipated annual report on data breaches with many incredible insights, and this year is no exception. The most surprising finding is the rapid explosion in vulnerability exploitation, which now constitutes one of the most critical paths to initiating breaches.

Balbix is a data contributor to Verizon DBIR, and we have poured over this report to provide seven key actionable takeaways to enable you and your organization to navigate the riskiest areas of cyber risk and deliver suggestions to improve your security.


Select ways-in enumerations in non-Error, non-Misuse breaches over time

Key DBIR Finding #1: Vulnerability Exploits Are Exploding

This year has seen a 180% increase in vulnerability exploits, with the MOVEit vulnerability and other zero-day exploits increasingly leveraged by ransomware and extortion-related threat actors.

Recommendation: Use a Risk-Based Approach to Remediating Vulnerabilities

Time from publication of vulnerability to first scan seen (from 2020 onward)

Key DBIR Finding #2: Don’t Wait For Vulnerabilities to Get on KEV

The median time from initial vulnerability publication to first detection of adversary scanning activity for CISA KEV is five days, compared to 68 days for non-CISA KEV CVEs.

Recommendation: Prioritize Remediation of  CISA KEV Listed Vulnerabilities

Survival analysis of CISA KEV vulnerabilities

Key DBIR Finding #3: CISA KEV Remediation Takes Too Long

By doing a survival analysis of vulnerability management data and focusing on the vulnerabilities in the CISA Known Exploited Vulnerabilities (KEV) catalog (an area of focus in vulnerability management), the report found it takes around 55 days to remediate 50% of those critical vulnerabilities once their patches are available. The patching doesn’t start picking up until after the 30-day mark, and by the end of the year, around 8% are still open.

Recommendation: Track Vulnerability Management Metrics such as Mean Open Vulnerability Age (MOVA) and Mean Time to Remediate (MTTR).

Action varieties in selected supply chain interconnection breachesKey DBIR Finding #4: Third-Party Vulnerabilities Are on the Rise

Third-party vulnerabilities (e.g., SaaS, business, and open-source apps) are rising. Supply chain interconnection influenced 15% of the breaches this year, a significant increase from 9% last year.

Recommendation: Understand your software supply chain and maintain an accurate and up-to-date Software Bill of Materials (SBOM).

Top Action varieties in Miscellaneous Errors breaches

Key DBIR Finding #5: Misconfigurations Are Falling But Still Pose A Considerable Risk

Misconfigurations were seen in approximately 10% of breaches. While on a downward trend they still pose a considerable risk of exploitation.

Recommendation: Monitor Software Configurations and leverage automated techniques to identify and remediate misconfigurations.

Top Action varieties in System Intrusion incidentsKey DBIR Finding #6: Ransomware/extortion Is Still Dominant

Roughly one-third of all breaches involve Ransomware or Extortion. Extortion attacks, which are less familiar to many, may or may not involve actual access to data like ransomware but use the threat of damage or disclosure to coerce payment. These attacks have risen over the past year and are now a component of 9% of all breaches (as opposed to a decline in Ransomware to 23%.)

Recommendation: Backup Data and monitor all systems, software and applications for high-severity vulnerabilities and patch them before they can be exploited by ransomware.

Top Confidentiality data varieties over time in Privilege Misuse breachesKey DBIR Finding #7: Privilege Misuse Is Growing

Social engineering and abuse of privileges have been an evergreen challenge. Yet, the latter is increasingly used by internal bad actors (35%, a significant increase from last year’s 20%.) vs. external attackers (65%).

Recommendation:  Adopt a zero-trust mindset, enforce the principle of least privilege and implement MFA.

Cumulative sum of GenAl in criminal forums


By implementing these 7 suggestions, your organization can enhance its defensive mechanisms, stay ahead of potential threats, and foster a more secure operational environment. Embracing these insights will not only safeguard your data and systems but also reinforce your organization’s commitment to maintaining cyber resilience. In the digital age, an informed and proactive approach to cybersecurity is not just an option—it is a necessity.