Well here we are again, and it is time to take the annual journey into our collection of real-world data breaches and information security incidents from the prior year. We have published this report nine times1 and we truly appreciate you spending your valuable time with us, whether you have been with us since our humble, pie-chart-centric beginnings or if this is your first read.
We would be remiss if we did not begin by acknowledging the organizations that contributed data (and time) to this publication. Simply stated, we thank you for helping to make this possible. For a full list of contributors, mosey over to Appendix B.
The incident data is the workhorse of this report and is used to build out all the information within the Breach Trends and Incident Classification Patterns sections. We use non-incident security data to paint a fuller picture in the patterns as well as in stand-alone research. Any opportunity to take several organizations’ data and combine them for a research topic was pursued. The Gestalt principles in action!
The nine incident classification patterns we identified back in the 2014 report still reign supreme. And while there are no drastic shifts that have established a show-stopping talking point when looking at the patterns as a whole, we have searched for interesting tidbits in the actions that comprise them.
This year’s dataset is made up of over 100,000 incidents, of which 3,141 were confirmed data breaches. Of these, 64,199 incidents and 2,260 breaches comprise the finalized dataset that was used in the analysis and figures throughout the report. We address the reasons for culling the dataset in Victim Demographics and provide additional details when we discuss motives in Breach Trends. Of course, we would never suggest that every last security event of 2015 is in this report. We acknowledge sample bias, and provide information about our methodology as well as links to resources that we encourage you to look into to help collect and analyze incident data within your own organization, in Appendix E.
We will also acknowledge what isn’t in this report. For those looking for proclamations about this being the year that mobile attacks bring us to our knees or that the Internet of Things (IoT) is coming to kill us all, you will be disappointed. We still do not have significant real-world data on these