The internet has created a vibrant and conducive digital landscape. It has connected millions of companies to markets all around the globe. However, this has exposed companies to malicious cyber-attacks.
Opportunistic hackers have exploited such vulnerabilities to steal billions of files and records from private firms, social media apps, and even state corporations. Such attacks are so frequent these days that they barely make the evening news.
The OnPar Technologies team and businesses should have cause to worry since they affect retail, healthcare, and every sector of the economy. Is your customers’ sensitive information secure? The answer is no if your company depends on digital assets.
What Are the Main Industrial Sectors Targeted By Cyber Criminals?
It’s wise to note that some industries are bigger targets than others. But, every company should take the necessary precautions to ensure against such threats.
The Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Sectors
Malicious hackers frequently target businesses in the financial sector, such as banks. 67 % of such institutions reported a steady rise in malware and other targeted attacks. Financial institutions are a treasure trove of sensitive information such as credit card numbers, emails, and social security details. Therefore, you need to take some precautions if you own or run such an institution.
The Healthcare Sector
It’s estimated that IT security breaches in healthcare firms cause $ 6.2 billion of damage to the US economy. Ransomware attacks plague this sector more than any other industry in the country. Hackers operate by sending malware that locks administrators out of their systems and records until a ransom is paid.
Other Vulnerable Sectors
You’d be surprised how many small businesses report having been targeted by cyber-attacks. This usually happens since hackers know that either such institutions can’t afford the best IT security or it’s not a significant concern.
The educational sector also lags in its preparedness. A 2018 cyber-attack on hundreds of universities around the world resulted in the theft of highly valuable intellectual property. Fortunately, the hackers were arrested and charged, but learning institutions could do more to protect valuable customer data.
Even governmental institutions, the hospitality industry, or any companies that transact with lots of clients should be concerned.
What Is the Operating Procedure of Hackers?
Hackers have a diverse set of tools they can use to steal information. This could range from ransomware, DDoS attacks, Social engineering, phishing scams, and many more. In most cases, they secretly install malicious applications that silently siphon sensitive information in the background.
These days, they don’t try that hard to challenge your firewalls, anti-virus, and other countermeasures. Hackers know that it’s easier to exploit human error. So, this means it’s harder to detect and stop such attacks if one of your employees fell for such scams.
Collateral Damage of a Breach
A recent study by Cybersecurity Ventures anticipates that cybercrimes will cost the global economy $ 6 billion each year by 2021. Sadly, only 4% of stolen files have the type of encryption that makes the compromised information useless to hackers. The rest usually have to pay a ransom that averages $5,000 – $25,000.
If you can’t afford such a sum, then your information could be exploited or sold to other classes of criminals. Industry regulators also don’t take kindly to data breaches as they affect your compliance. So you might have to pay fines, penalties, and even go through litigation in extreme cases.
It’s also worth noting that 22% of businesses that have suffered data breaches also lose their most valid customers.
How Can You Protect Your Systems from Breaches?
The best way to deal with potential data breaches is to conduct a thorough IT risk assessment and elevate your level of IT security. Here are a few ways to go about this:
- Ensure you have an effective firewall and strong “un-guessable” passwords
- Encrypt all data transmissions
- Regularly update your malware and other security contingencies
- Restrict access to sensitive information to a few trustworthy employees
- Enact a compressive security policy for all workers and sub-contractors
The best way to deter data breaches that siphon sensitive customer data is by conforming your business to the best IT and compliance standards. Technology is always changing, so this has to be an ongoing and engaging process. It’s easier said than done, so when in doubt, please consult a qualified IT security firm or consultant.