In 2017, cybercrime cost the global economy a whopping $600 billion due to the likes of WannaCry and Petya, who targeted some of the largest companies in the world. Today, RiskIQ, a global leader on attack surface management, reports that we’re losing $2.9 million globally every single minute — that will amount to an astronomical $1.5 trillion by the end of the year.
From losing $17,700 a minute to phishing attacks, to global ransomware costing a projected $22,184 per minute, each statistic is as alarming as the other; pointing to the undeniable fact that cybercrime is rampant at the minute. “As the scale of the Internet continues to proliferate,” explains RiskIQ’s CEO Lou Manousos, “so does the landscape.” This is a trend that’s only going to get worse, before it gets better. In fact, Cybersecurity Ventures projects losses will reach $6 trillion a year by 2021.
Companies don’t just lose important data either; they also lose time and productivity. The loss of intellectual property can lead to hundreds of lost hours wasted on its development, and can disrupt an entire business from the ground up. Restoring hacked data and systems takes even more time, and the damage to a company’s reputation can be disastrous. The potential for organizational secrets to be released also poses a risk, which can lead to further catastrophe. This is not to mention the legal penalties that come with mishandling customer information.
Consumers are not exempt from cybercrime attacks, either. One common platform that sees an unprecedented amount of attacks is your average smartphone, where unsafe browsing can lead to phishing or malware. This can happen practically anywhere — and we aren’t just talking about mobile browsers. In fact, the World Economic Forum found that 80% of mobile fraud is achieved through apps. Moreover, given that mobile phones are often used for banking and storing sensitive data, the security risk of losing a phone or its data is not to be underestimated — especially if the owner is connected to large corporations that hold massive amounts of customer information.
This alarming growth in cybercrimes is something all industries should be aware of – especially those in key sectors such as healthcare, the government, and business. The finance industry is a prime target for obvious reasons, and it is not just the most at risk due it being extremely lucrative for would-be hackers – all the personal information up for grabs makes it even more appealing. Additionally, law firms have become major targets for cybercriminals, as a white paper on cybersecurity threats by Special Counsel details that they are ‘one stop shops for attackers’. Law firms hold important, sensitive information, and, on the black market, this valuable information on their clients is worth a lot of money. Add to the fact that most law firms have very little protection against any potential cyber threats and this could lead to reputational damage and very costly lawsuits. However, it’s important to note that cybercriminals target specific vulnerabilities rather than industries. Given that virtually every industry faces some level of risk, identifying what these risks are will be crucial to figuring out what to look out for and what needs a higher level of protection.
These distressing incidences only highlight the need for more sophisticated cybersecurity measures. An underrated way to combat cybercrime is through security awareness training. Given that a large portion of global cybercrime is related to phishing scams, educating employees on how to recognize them will protect both themselves and your company. Furthermore, basic things such as keeping your wireless network encrypted, ensuring your systems are up-to-date, and blocking restricted sites also play a role in good cybersecurity measures.
Of course, sure-fire ways to boost security include hiring cybersecurity professionals and adopting the software needed to ensure the protection of company secrets. Manousos also encourages organizations to take a long, hard look at their current security strategy, and realize that they’re vulnerable beyond their firewall.
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