Social engineering attacks against C-level executives, hacks of cloud-based email servers, and compromises of payment card web apps were all notably up last year, according to the newly released 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR).

Other key takeaways from the past year included a marked decrease in successful attacks against physical point-of-sale terminals and a sharp drop in reported W-2 scams. And despite being in an ongoing battle for popularity among cybercriminals, ransomware beat out cryptomining programs by a wide margin in terms of the number of incidents in which they were involved.

For its report, Verizon recorded 41,686 security incidents in 86 countries during the period of Nov. 1, 2017 to Oct. 31, 2018 – nearly 12,000 fewer events than the previous annual period. Verizon also registered 2,013 data breaches versus 2,216 in the previous year. (By Verizon's definition an incident is when data is exposed to possible harm, while a breach is when an unauthorized party is confirmed to have accessed data.)

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