Troy Hunt claims that those responsible for data breaches are often just teenagers and there are reports that a lot of the breaches would appear to come from insiders. But we also hear a lot about the extent and sophistication of cybercrime. Also, companies seem to want to keep quiet about data breaches. So are there any reliable statistics about who is responsible for the majority of data breaches?
I have amended the question so that it relates to database breaches rather than data breaches.
When I asked my original question I was coming from an interest in understanding who was behind the many database breaches – specifically the theft of password files – and hadn't appreciated that the term “data breach” had a broader reach (as explained in this Wiki definition). Troy Hunt's talk, “Lessons from a billion breached records”, was about this narrower concern.
In attacking the misattribution of such attacks in sensational press reports he made the point that often the perpetrators are youngsters with no criminal intent. Although he also recognised the involvement of organised crime, the impression I came away with was that it played a less significant role (though I appreciate that this might not be his actual position on the issue).
Having now read something about the extent and sophistication of organised crime I wondered if any other research into this area has made similar observations. I'm trying to reconcile Hunt's apparent assertion with reports about organised crime like:
“The increasing threat from organized cybercriminals and state-sponsored cyber espionage means companies need to forget about the idea of a lone hacker” Steve Ranger, ZDNet
“The growth of the as-a-service economy across all components of an attack (research, cybercrime tools, and infrastructure) continues to grow, and none more so than hacking-as-a-service” The Hidden Data Economy, Intel Security