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28 cyber security stats and facts you need to know in 2023

James Harrison

Hackers continue to become more sophisticated, malicious and just plain greedy. You don’t have to be a cyber security pro to understand the latest security risks. Even the public has become aware of cyber security breaches that splash across news headlines. And as attacks become more automated and indiscriminate, every organization is at risk.

The main aim for cybercriminals is information – names, passwords, financial records – that is then sold on the dark web or held for ransom. We’ve broken down some of the more eye-opening cybercrime facts and stats in 2023 into various categories and provided some quick tips to help protect your business so you can sleep easier at night.

Cybercrime and ransomware statistics

  1. 25,059 CVE vulnerabilities were recorded in 2022, 5,000 more than 2021 (CVE Metrics)
  2. 255 million phishing attacks occurred over six months in 2022 (Slashnext)
  3. There were 5.5 billion malware attacks in 2022 (Statista)
  4. 1,661,743 malware or unwanted software installers were discovered in 2022 (Kaspersky)
  5. Google blocked more than 231 billion spam and phishing emails in November 2022 (Google)
  6. The share of breaches caused by ransomware grew 41% in 2022 and took 49 days longer than average to identify and contain (IBM)
  7. 51% of IT decision-makers believe there will be a successful cyberattack credited to ChatGPT within the year (BlackBerry)
  8. The cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023 (Cybersecurity Ventures)
  9. Spending on cyber security and risk management will reach $188 billion in 2023 (Gartner)

Website cyberattack statistics

  1. 30,000 websites are hacked daily (Forbes)
  2. 18% of websites are infected with critical severity threats such as backdoors and malicious file modifications (Sitelock)
  3. 4.1 million websites have malware at any given time (Sitelock)
  4. Vulnerable plugins are the #1 reason WordPress websites get hacked (PatchStack)

Easy tips to protect your website

Check you’re using a secure web hosting service, implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF), run regular vulnerability scans, back up your website regularly and keep any plugins, themes and frameworks up to date.

Network and cloud security breaches

  1. 45% of businesses have experienced a cloud-based data breach or failed audit in the past 12 months (S&P Global Market Intelligence)
  2. Cloud misconfigurations account for 15% of initial attack vectors in security breaches (IBM)
  3. Nearly a third of organizations host sensitive data in the cloud without proper security controls in place (Palo Alto Networks)
  4. 82% of orgs are finding managing their spending in the cloud difficult (Flexera)
  5. 22% of organizations still assessed their cloud security posture manually in 2020 (Fortra)

Easy ways to protect your cloud networking

Use a boundary firewall, implement MFA everywhere, enable Single Sign On; encrypt, encrypt, encrypt; and run regular vulnerability scans.

Web application security statistics

  1. 41% of organizations suffered API security incidents in the last year (Noname)
  2. 63% of these incidents resulted in data breaches (Noname)
  3. API attacks emerged as the #1 threat vector in 2022 (Gartner)
  4. Web application attacks are involved in 26% of all breaches (Verizon)
  5. In 2021 48% of web apps had low or extremely low security level (Positive Technologies)

How to secure your web apps and APIs

Regularly scan for vulnerabilities, use a Web Application Firewall (WAF), avoid security misconfigurations, use encryption everywhere, and sanitize the user input.

Small business security statistics

  1. Fewer than 45% of SMBs believe their business is likely to be a target (
  2. One third of small businesses rely on free, consumer-grade cybersecurity solutions or use no endpoint security at all (BullGuard)
  3. Almost half of all breaches impact businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees (Verizon)
  4. 50% of SMBs take 24 hours or longer to recover from an attack (BullGuard)
  5. 60% of small businesses go out of business after being victims of a cyberattack (worldr)

5 ways to protect a growing business

Use a boundary firewall and antivirus, keep all software patched and updated, create least privilege roles, implement MFA everywhere, and run vulnerability scans of your internal and external systems.

Don’t become just another statistic

As you can see, cyber security should be a priority for every business, whatever your size or maturity. Don’t leave yourself exposed. As your business scales, team expands and revenue grows, you need to ramp up your cyber security or you’ll just become another cyber security statistic.  

There are many online security tools that can help you stay secure and uncover weaknesses in your systems. Intruder is one of them. We help thousands of small companies stay safe every day. Why not try us for free for 14 days?

Release Date
Level of Ideal
Before CVE details are published
Limited public information is available about the vulnerability.

Red teamers, security researchers, detection engineers, threat actors have to actively research type of vulnerability, location in vulnerable software and build an associated exploit.

Tenable release checks for 47.43% of the CVEs they cover in this window, and Greenbone release 32.96%.
Day of CVE publish
Vulnerability information is publicly accessible.

Red teamers, security researchers, detection engineers and threat actors now have access to some of the information they were previously having to hunt themselves, speeding up potential exploit creation.

Tenable release checks for 17.12% of the CVEs they cover in this window, and Greenbone release 17.69%.
First week since CVE publish
Vulnerability information has been publicly available for up to 1 week.

The likelihood that exploitation in the wild is going to be happening is steadily increasing.

Tenable release checks for 10.9% of the CVEs they cover in this window, and Greenbone release 20.69%.
Between 1 week and 1 month since CVE publish
Vulnerability information has been publicly available for up to 1 month, and some very clever people have had time to craft an exploit.

We’re starting to lose some of the benefit of rapid, automated vulnerability detection.

Tenable release checks for 9.58% of the CVEs they cover in this window, and Greenbone release 12.43%.
After 1 month since CVE publish
Information has been publicly available for more than 31 days.

Any detection released a month after the details are publicly available is decreasing in value for me.

Tenable release checks for 14.97% of the CVEs they cover over a month after the CVE details have been published, and Greenbone release 16.23%.

With this information in mind, I wanted to check what is the delay for both Tenable and Greenbone to release a detection for their scanners. The following section will focus on vulnerabilities which:

These are the ones where an attacker can point their exploit code at your vulnerable system and gain unauthorised access.

We’ve seen previously that Tenable have remote checks for 643 critical vulnerabilities, and OpenVAS have remote checks for 450 critical vulnerabilities. Tenable release remote checks for critical vulnerabilities within 1 month of the details being made public 58.4% of the time, but Greenbone release their checks within 1 month 76.8% of the time. So, even though OpenVAS has fewer checks for those critical vulnerabilities, you are more likely to get them within 1 month of the details being made public. Let’s break that down further.

In Figure 10 we can see the absolute number of remote checks released on a given day after a CVE for a critical vulnerability has been published. What you can immediately see is that both Tenable and OpenVAS release the majority of their checks on or before the CVE details are made public; Tenable have released checks for 247 CVEs, and OpenVAS have released checks for 144 CVEs. Then since 2010 Tenable have remote released checks for 147 critical CVEs and OpenVAS 79 critical CVEs on the same day as the vulnerability details were published. The number of vulnerabilities then drops off across the first week and drops further after 1 week, as we would hope for in an efficient time-to-release scenario.

Figure 10: Absolute numbers of critical CVEs with a remote check release date from the date a CVE is published

While raw numbers are good, Tenable have a larger number of checks available so it could be unfair to go on raw numbers alone. It’s potentially more important to understand the likelihood that OpenVAS or Tenable will release a check of a vulnerability on any given day after a CVE for a critical vulnerability is released. In Figure 11 we can see that Tenable release 61% their checks on or before the date that a CVE is published, and OpenVAS release a shade under 50% of their checks on or before the day that a CVE is published.

Figure 11: Percentage chance of delay for critical vulnerabilities

So, since 2010 Tenable has more frequently released their checks before or on the same day as the CVE details have been published for critical vulnerabilities. While Tenable is leading at this point, Greenbone’s community feed still gets a considerable percentage of their checks out on or before day 0.

I thought I’d go another step further and try and see if I could identify any trend in each organisations release delay, are they getting better year-on-year or are their releases getting later? In Figure 12 I’ve taken the mean delay for critical vulnerabilities per year and plotted them. The mean as a metric is particularly influenced by outliers in a data set, so I expected some wackiness and limited the mean to only checks released 180 days prior to a CVE being published and 31 days after a CVE being published. These seem to me like reasonable limits, as anything greater than 6 months prior to CVE details being released is potentially a quirk of the check details and anything after a 1-month delay is less important for us.

What can we take away from Figure 12?

Figure 12: Release delay year-on-year (lower is better)

With the larger number of checks, and still being able to release a greater percentage of their remote checks for critical vulnerabilities Tenable could win this category. However, the delay time from 2019 and 2020 going to OpenVAS, and the trend lines being so close, I am going to declare this one a tie. It’s a tie.

The takeaway from this is that both vendors are getting their checks out the majority of the time either before the CVE details are published or on the day the details are published. This is overwhelmingly positive for both scanning solutions. Over time both also appear to be releasing remote checks for critical vulnerabilities more quickly.

Written by

James Harrison

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