Thu. Dec 7th, 2023

Content Assessment: Ten Tales from the Cyber Frontier: Insights from Verizon's 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report

Information - 95%
Insight - 96%
Relevance - 94%
Objectivity - 93%
Authority - 94%



A short percentage-based assessment and overview in the form of a commentary narrative of the qualitative benefit of the 16th Annual Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR).

Editor’s Note: From time to time, ComplexDiscovery highlights publicly available or privately purchasable announcements, content updates, and research from cyber, data, and legal discovery providers, research organizations, and ComplexDiscovery community members. While ComplexDiscovery regularly highlights this information, it does not assume any responsibility for content assertions.

Contact us today to submit recommendations for consideration and inclusion in ComplexDiscovery’s data and legal discovery-centric service, product, or research announcements.

Background Note: The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and with it, the nature and complexity of cyber threats. The 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) by Verizon Business provides a comprehensive analysis of these threats, drawing on data from 16,312 security incidents and 5,199 breaches that took place between November 1, 2021, and October 31, 2022. The report offers valuable insights into various aspects of cybersecurity, and this narrative interpretation of the report presents these insights as ten distinct “tales” from the cyber frontier. Each tale focuses on a specific aspect of the cyber threat landscape, providing a unique perspective on the challenges faced by professionals in cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery. The aim is to make the complex and often technical information in the report more accessible and engaging while still conveying the crucial insights that the report offers.

ComplexDiscovery Backgrounder*

Ten Tales from the Cyber Frontier: Insights from Verizon’s 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report

Commentary on the 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon

In the vast landscape of the digital realm, tales of cyber threats unfold with increasing frequency and complexity. These tales, woven from the threads of real incidents and breaches, serve as stark reminders of the evolving challenges in cybersecurity. The 16th annual Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) by Verizon Business, released in 2023, is a collection of such tales. Each tale provides insights into a specific aspect of the cyber threat landscape, from the soaring costs of ransomware to the human element in breaches, and from the increasing threat to senior leadership to the rise of Business Email Compromise (BEC). Let us embark on this journey through ten tales from the cyber frontier, as highlighted by the 2023 DBIR.

  1. The Tale of the Ransomware Dragon: In this tale, the dragon of ransomware grows larger and more fearsome, with the median cost per incident more than doubling over the past two years to $26,000. The frequency of its attacks has also dramatically increased, surpassing the total of the previous five years combined.
  2. The Tale of the Human Key: Despite the fortress of safeguards and the knights of cybersecurity, the human key remains a significant factor in 74% of total breaches. This tale reminds us that the human element can often be the weakest link in the chain of security.
  3. The Tale of the Vulnerable Kings and Queens: In this story, senior leadership, who often possess an organization’s most sensitive information, become the prime targets of cyber threats. Despite their high status, they are often among the least protected, making them vulnerable to sophisticated social engineering tactics.
  4. The Tale of the Deceptive Scribe: The scribe, symbolizing Business Email Compromise (BEC), uses his quill to craft deceptive messages, leading to an increase in the median amount stolen in BECs to $50,000 USD. This tale warns us of the dangers of not verifying the authenticity of email communications.
  5. The Tale of the Espionage Phantom: While the phantom of espionage garners substantial attention, it is but a minor player, motivating only 3% of threat actors. The other 97% are motivated by the tangible allure of financial gain.
  6. The Tale of the Rapid Marauders: This tale reveals that 32% of yearly Log4j vulnerability scanning occurred in the first 30 days after its release, demonstrating the rapid pace at which threat actors can escalate from a proof of concept to mass exploitation.
  7. The Tale of the Stolen Credentials: In this story, stolen credentials are the preferred tools of external actors, used in 49% of cases to gain entry to an organization. This tale underscores the importance of password security and two-factor authentication.
  8. The Tale of the Phishing Lure: The lure of phishing is used in 12% of cases, tricking unsuspecting individuals into clicking on malicious links or attachments. This tale serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance and security awareness.
  9. The Tale of the Exploited Weakness: This tale tells of how 5% of external actors gain entry by exploiting vulnerabilities, highlighting the importance of timely patching and updates.
  10. The Tale of the Secure Routes: In the final tale and highlighted in the report announcement, Verizon becomes the first nationwide telecom provider to join the global initiative of Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS), demonstrating its commitment to implementing industry best fixes to common routing threats.

As we conclude our journey through these ten tales from the cyber frontier, it becomes clear that the landscape of cyber threats is vast and varied. Each tale, while unique in its narrative, contributes to the broader story of the evolving challenges in cybersecurity. For professionals in cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery, these tales are not just stories; they are lessons learned from the frontlines of the digital realm. They underscore the importance of vigilance, preparedness, and continuous learning in the face of ever-evolving cyber threats. As we look to the future, let these tales serve as a guide, helping us navigate the complex terrain of the cyber threat landscape.

Reference Cite: Verizon Business. (2023). Data Breach Investigations Report. Retrieved from

*Assisted by GAI and LLM Technologies

Additional Reading

Source: ComplexDiscovery


Generative Artificial Intelligence and Large Language Model Use

ComplexDiscovery OÜ recognizes the value of GAI and LLM tools in streamlining content creation processes and enhancing the overall quality of its research, writing, and editing efforts. To this end, ComplexDiscovery OÜ regularly employs GAI tools, including ChatGPT, Claude 2, Midjourney, and DALL-E3, to assist, augment, and accelerate the development and publication of both new and revised content in posts and pages published (initiated in late 2022).

ComplexDiscovery also provides a ChatGPT-powered AI article assistant for its users. This feature leverages LLM capabilities to generate relevant and valuable insights related to specific page and post content published on By offering this AI-driven service, ComplexDiscovery OÜ aims to create a more interactive and engaging experience for its users, while highlighting the importance of responsible and ethical use of GAI and LLM technologies.


Have a Request?

If you have information or offering requests that you would like to ask us about, please let us know, and we will make our response to you a priority.

ComplexDiscovery is a distinguished digital publication that delivers journalistic insights into cybersecurity, information governance, and eDiscovery developments and technologies. It adeptly navigates the intersection of these sectors with international business and current affairs, transforming relevant developments into informational news stories. This unique editorial approach enables professionals to gain a broader perspective on the intricacies of the digital landscape for informed strategic decision-making.

Incorporated in Estonia, a nation celebrated for its digital innovation, ComplexDiscovery OÜ adheres to the most rigorous standards of journalistic integrity. The publication diligently analyzes global trends, assesses technological breakthroughs, and offers in-depth appraisals of services involving electronically stored information. By contextualizing complex legal technology issues within the broader narrative of worldwide commerce and current events, ComplexDiscovery provides its readership with indispensable insights and a nuanced understanding of the eDiscovery industry.