Financial and Insurance
(NAICS 52)

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1,832 incidents, 480 with confirmed data disclosure

Top patterns


Basic Web Application Attacks, Miscellaneous Errors and System Intrusion represent 77% of breaches

Threat actors


External (66%), Internal (34%), Multiple (1%) (breaches)

Actor motives


Financial (97%), Espionage (3%), Convenience (1%), Ideology (1%) (breaches)

Data compromised


Personal (74%), Credentials (38%), Other (30%), Bank (21%) (breaches)

What is the same?


The top three patterns remain the same, but their order of ascendancy has rearranged. Personal data, very useful for fraud, continues to be the most desired data type stolen.



With Basic Web Application Attacks as the top pattern, we know that the adversaries are successfully gaining access without too much effort. This, combined with the Misdelivery error, indicates there is room for good controls to cover a decent percentage of attacks in this sector.

These attacks are so basic.

“We were compromised by a highly sophisticated cyberattack.” So reads a large percentage of data breach notification letters. But really, just how sophisticated is a brute-forced password? Or better still, credential stuffing where you don’t even have to guess the password—you’ve acquired it from another breach! The Basic Web Application Attacks pattern is the most prevalent in this sector, which means those not-so-complex attacks are succeeding splendidly for the adversaries. Why put forth a ton of effort when just a little will do?

Wait—did I give you that?

Another prominent attack involves Internal actors making mistakes. Misdelivery—where protected data is sent to the wrong recipient—is the most common. Sometimes it is a matter of paper documents going to the wrong people, and other times it is just the electronic version that goes astray. Either way, extra care needs to be given to catching these kinds of Errors before they cause a data breach.

Make them work for it.

Rounding out the top three is the pattern that requires adversaries to actually put forth a bit of effort, System Intrusion. While it dropped from 27% to 14% this year (allowing Miscellaneous Errors to dominate), it remains a serious issue. This illustrates that at least some of the time, adversaries had to trot out their more sophisticated techniques in order to get the job done. Interestingly, Ransomware is decreasing as a favorite tactic in this pattern for this sector. We discuss it more in depth in the introduction of the “Incident Classification Patterns” section in case if you skipped that part. We know, some of you just read the DBIR for the pictures.

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