Cyber attacks are a threat that no company is immune from. With cybercrime up 600% during the pandemic alone, businesses are more vulnerable than ever to financial losses from a failed cybersecurity protocol.
To help business owners prevent and respond to such incidents, this guide discusses statistics on types of cyber-attacks and useful tips for preventing them.
Losses due to cybercrime
It is estimated that cybercrime will cost businesses around the world $ 10.5 trillion annually by 2025. With an estimate of $ 3 trillion in 2015, that’s more than tripling in a decade.
If you are a small business owner, you belong to one of the most vulnerable groups to cybercrime. An Accenture study reports that 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses, and less than a sixth are equipped to prevent them.
Cyber attacks aren’t just about stealing a corporate credit card or hacking an employee’s personal information – they can have a serious and lasting impact on your company’s infrastructure. This can be exceptionally expensive to fix and can even be downright unaffordable.
In addition to the direct money and system losses from cyber attacks, there are less direct costs that affect businesses long after the attacks. These include but are not limited to system downtime costs, brand reputation costs, lost data and lost productivity.
It’s critical for businesses of all sizes to be aware of the impact cyber attacks can have in order to better combat them and prevent them from happening at all.
Common types of cyber attacks
Knowing the most common types of cyberattacks can help you develop a keen eye for suspicious activity so you can act wisely to prevent theft and fraud.
Phishing is a form of online scam that involves sending an email or other virtual communication that masquerades as a source usually considered reliable, such as a bank or an Internet service provider. These emails usually ask for personal information such as social security numbers to steal identities, steal money, or open new accounts in someone else’s name. An FBI report revealed a loss of $ 57 million in one year from phishing attacks.
Malware is malicious software that is downloaded to devices without permission. It causes devices to crash or can allow hackers to view computer activity, access files, and steal information. Malware is often downloaded to devices when users are asked to click on unsecured links. Statista reports a significant increase in malware detections, from 172 million in 2015 to nearly 678 million in 2020.
- Man in the middle
A man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack occurs when a user intercepts communication between two people or between one person and a machine. For example, a hacker could direct a user to a fraudulent site that appears to be the user’s banking website to collect their data. According to Netcraft, 95% of HTTPS servers are vulnerable to these attacks.
- Data breaches
On average, it takes 197 days for a company to discover a cybersecurity breach. Needless to say, the longer it takes to discover a security breach, the more a company’s reputation and assets suffer.
Business data is valuable to hackers, both inside and outside an organization. Although most data breaches are committed by outsiders, almost a third are actually performed internally.
Overall, this data illustrates the importance of prompt and proactive management action to prevent cybersecurity threats regardless of their origin.
Cyber security vulnerabilities in the industry
While it is important for companies in any industry to take comprehensive measures to combat cybercrime, certain industries are at greater risk than others.
For obvious reasons, industry companies that hold users’ personal information are the most common targets of cybercrime. These industries include:
- Financial Institutions. Banks and credit unions not only have access to users’ personal information such as address and contact details, but they also manage financial assets and maintain bank account and credit card numbers.
- Healthcare institutions. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities protect users’ social security numbers, billing information, medical records and insurance information.
- Businesses. Companies not only contain data about employees and customers, but also very valuable intellectual property. This includes marketing strategies, product concepts, contract deals, etc.
Best cybersecurity practices
In addition to ensuring that your data breach insurance policy meets the needs of your organization, there are many processes and best practices to consider to minimize the threat of cybercrime.
- Minimize data transfers. In a business environment, it is almost impossible to prevent the transfer of data between devices. Be aware of how many devices contain important data and try to minimize the transfers.
- Check download sources. Before downloading anything, scan the website you are downloading from to make sure it is verified and click only on legitimate download links. Clicking on fake links can install malware that gives hackers a direct gateway to your device.
- Keep software up to date. As hackers become more adept, so should software developers. Developers consistently update their applications with the best available security measures, so updating when updates are available is an excellent way to protect against cyber-attacks.
- Encrypt where possible. Encryption tools can be used to protect data from unwanted persons. If encryption is not possible, password protection is a great alternative. Make sure you choose passwords that contain a mix of letters, numbers and characters and that you update your passwords regularly.
- Be alert. Data breach monitoring tools will alert you when there is suspicious activity on your data. These tools help you prevent data theft in real time.
- Have a plan. Hackers are smart and data leaks happen. When they do, it’s important to have a codified, organization-wide plan to prevent further damage and reverse the damage done.
Cybercrime is getting more sophisticated every day and poses an ever greater threat to businesses and individuals around the world. This makes it more important than ever to take proactive measures in self-defense against this threat. Don’t wait to clean up a messy cyber attack – make cybersecurity a priority today.