Summary: Cybercrime should be a top concern for your business. This is especially true if you work in one of these top 5 industries that are most prone to it.
Today’s businesses are responsible for a lot of sensitive data. When this makes its way into the wrong hands it can cause a lot of harm. This is true of both the client’s and the business’ intellectual property, financial data, and processing information. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you’re a potential target for a cyber attack. Some industries are more vulnerable than others, which is why an in-depth look at cyber threats is so important.
What Cybercrime Is
With cyber crime computers are either the object of or the main tool used in the crime. A cybercriminal will use this technology to access personal information or business trade secrets through hacking, phishing, or spamming. Criminals who take part in these activities are known as “hackers.” Some of the most common types of crime they engage in include:
- Stealing online banking information
- Identity theft
- Unauthorized computer access
- Spreading malicious viruses
- Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks
5 Industries Most Affected by Cybercrime
Although nobody is completely safe from these types of attacks, Morson says that there are some industries that are more prone to them. Many attacks are carried out in past history too. These include:
- The Healthcare industry is responsible for handling a lot of personal information within their patients’ healthcare records. In fact, over one million records are compromised each year. The PwC Health Research Institute says these attacks cost about $200 per patient. Included here are the facility’s downtime, reputation repair, litigations, and loss of business. However, it only costs about $8 per patient to stop such an attack from ever happening. Additionally, ransomware attacks are now quite “popular.” These attacks center on the hospital’s critical life support systems, which when attacked can cause many people to die.
- Manufacturing (including automotive, electronics, textile, and pharmaceutical companies) are also very vulnerable. About 30% of the attacks in this industry were against automotive manufacturers. Coming in a close second were chemical manufacturers.
- Financial services always make the top of the list. According to Seqrite this really shouldn’t surprise us though since banks have the money the robbers want. However, these institutions are investing a lot of money in cyber security today, making them much safer and less vulnerable than in the past. J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, Citibank and Wells Fargo have invested $1.5 billion in cyber security. As they do so, cyber criminals also invest more into their methods and techniques. Their favorite targets are smaller enterprises that work in the financial space because many of these companies don’t have the time or money to invest in cyber security.
- Government agencies have a lot of data that hackers would love to get their hands on – including security information, commercial contracts, social security numbers, places of birth, and digital fingerprints. The number of attacks on the government will surprise you. According to Info Guard Security, there are 138 cyber security loopholes in the Pentagon’s 5 websites. This number has increased by 1,300% since 2006. In just one year 11 of the government’s 18 agencies’ high-impact systems experienced 2,267 cyber attacks, 500 of which placed malicious codes in their systems. Although the government thinks that frequently rotating their in-house IT team will fix this problem, it actually places the information’s security at an even greater risk. This isn’t something that will change soon due to governmental bureaucracy, which also makes it difficult to quickly buy systems that protect themselves against today’s threats. For this reason, today’s attacks are even more successful than before.
- The fact that hackers target the retail industry surprises some people. However, this is the exact form of thinking that leads retailers to implement poor security measures, making them easy targets for hackers today. These hackers aren’t after the retailer’s inventory and orders, but their customer’s credit card information they keep stored in their system. Sometimes these retailers are even hacked by their fellow competitors who want to know about their customer’s online behavior so they can upsell and cross-sell to these customers. As such, there are a lot of sponsored attacks within this industry, as well as DDoS attacks during peak business hours. This is the competitor’s way of harming their reputation so they’ll lose customers.
How to Fight Cybercrime
Whether or not you’re in one of these industries you’ll still need some cyber security solutions.
Even if you’re not the main target of a cyber crime, you can still be indirectly affected. This is especially true today when the FBI says that cybercrime is almost commonplace – it’s also very dangerous and sophisticated too. Unfortunately, network security monitoring tools are struggling to keep up, but there are some things businesses can do, including:
- Stop creating easy passwords. While you want to be able to remember them, if they’re too easy, cyber attackers will exploit them to get into a website. So, use a password that’s at least 8 characters long and has a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Use Talos Intelligence (Cisco’s industry-leading threat intelligence team) to stay up-to-date about emerging threats to your employees, data, and infrastructure. They also tell you how to protect your business from these emerging threats.
- Always use two-step verification so you have an extra layer of security – your username and password, along with something only you can access. For instance, banks send out one time pins (OTP) generated just for your one time use so it expires within an hour after it’s generated.
- Only visit legitimate, reputable sites. This is why many businesses limit where you can go online.
- Use anti-virus and anti-malware software. Make sure it’s updated and runs security scans regularly so you can delete, uninstall, or quarantine anything that shouldn’t be on your device.
- Don’t let other people access your password protected sites without you.
Undoubtedly, cyber crime is growing throughout the world and hitting every industry today. This is caused by technological advancements leaving businesses vulnerable. Although these technologies mean well, now there isn’t a business that’s completely immune to cyber attacks. For this reason, your business really needs to start employing robust cyber security today before the breaches grow even worse.