Data leaks from exposed credentials rise 50 percent

Credentials on sticky note

The number of major data leak incidents as a result of exposed credentials rose by 50 percent in 2021 according to a new report.

The 2021 industry report from CybelAngel finds data leaks are the most common digital risk faced by enterprise customers, with leaks overall showing a 63 percent year-on-year growth.

The pharma industry was worst hit with a whopping 948 percent increase in leaks — possibly as a result of COVID hype. The finance sector is next with a 113 percent increase. Cloud storage leaks saw a 150 percent year-on-year increase overall and 500 percent in the pharma sector.

Among other findings, labor shortages among developers led to greater outsourcing and a 66 percent increase in source code leaks. The final quarter of 2021 saw a 117 percent jump in the number of GitHub incident reports sent. Again pharma and health are worst hit with a 316 percent increase in source code leaks. Interestingly banking and finance were the only industries to not see any increase in source code leaks.

Looking ahead the report’s authors conclude, “Will 2022 follow the same trends? Some yes, some no. In all likelihood, source code leaks will continue to grow as balancing against a tight labor market and an entrenched tool is difficult. Two trends we expect to develop are cloud storage exposures and shadow asset incidents as remote work becomes more entrenched and employees seek ease and efficiency. We suspect that credentials growth will stay low or possibly decrease as more tools for identity management and multifactor aim to make credentials less valuable for threat actors.”

You can read more and get the full report, with a quarter-by-quarter breakdown of threats across the year, on the CybelAngel blog.

Image credit: Georgy Timoshin / Shutterstock

Author: Martha Meyer