Despite the best efforts of individuals and businesses alike, cyber security incidents rose sharply in 2018. This, despite increasing awareness of the importance of cyber security. While some recent cyberattacks, like the Facebook attack, proved to be very public and well-known, other attacks often go unnoticed or unreported in mainstream news.
Why is the number of cyber security incidents rising, despite strong efforts from professionals around the world? There are several reasons contributing to this rise, which all businesses should know about. Education is the best tool for increasing prevention of these cyber security incidents.
New Types of Cyber Security Breaches
One of the biggest reasons for an increase in cyber security incidents was cryptocurrency mining malware. Cryptocurrency was not well-known until recently. That all changed in late 2017, when cryptocurrency prices rose to all-time highs. What was once an obscure method for exchanging funds online had suddenly become a popular investment tool for many people, which created a new target for hackers.
Even though cryptocurrency prices dropped steadily throughout 2018, there is still value in these digital currencies. As a result, hackers have developed malware that can use the processing power of victim’s computers to mine cryptocurrency. The funds are sent to the hacker, while the victim may be unaware.
The challenge for individuals and businesses is that malware lowers productivity, slows devices, and can lead to premature device failure.
Cyber Attacks are Big Business
As new types of security breaches are developed and discovered, the potential gains for hackers continue to rise. In the past, many cyber security incidents focused on stealing online banking info and other important pieces of information from individuals. While this was profitable for hackers, it pales in comparison to the scale of some recent cyberattacks targeting businesses.
It is estimated that cyber attacks cost the U.S. economy more than $100 billion per year. This is due to the increasing value of these devastating attacks. For example, ransomware can encrypt a company’s important data and hold it ransom until payment is made. Some businesses without proper backup plans end up paying large sums of money to have their data unlocked.
One of the most high profile recent cyber attacks using ransomware involved the city of Atlanta. City services were disrupted, public data was likely accessed, and the final cost had the potential of reaching millions of dollars for the city.
Governments are Getting Involved
When many people think of a hacker, they think of a computer geek sitting in a dark apartment with a bright screen and lines of code flashing past. Of course, those scenes from movies that form our imaginary idea of what a hacker looks like are not always accurate. In fact, many hackers may be sanctioned by foreign governments and even working out of government buildings around the world.
Countries like Russia and China have ramped up cyber attacks against other nations and companies around the world to disrupt operations or glean sensitive information. The United States recently accused China of corporate espionage and alleged that Chinese hackers backed by the government had been accessing and stealing sensitive data from American businesses.
As governments continue to consider cyber attacks as a legitimate form of espionage or warfare, hackers may find that they have greater support and backing to carry out their deeds. This may be one explanation for increased cyber security incidents over the past year.
How to Protect Against All Types of Security Breaches
Perhaps the only good news to come from recent cyber attacks is that awareness and vigilance will continue to increase. Hackers rely on security weaknesses to carry out their attacks and, with proper prevention, many cyber attacks can be stopped.
Education, awareness, and implementation of security best practices can greatly reduce the chances of falling victim to cyber security incidents.
To learn more about cyber attacks and how to keep your data safe, please contact RJ Young today.