10 unbelievable facts about cyber security

When Sir Tim Berners-Lee created the internet 30 years ago, it was new and exciting being used to share information by connecting people. Over time though, the Internet has matured immensely, becoming a scary place full of risks. Did you know that there are 4.29 billion internet users in 2019? An increase of 366 million from 2018.

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Cyber-attacks are showing no sign of slowing down. Therefore, your IT security should be at the forefront of your mind. It’s best to make preparations before one happens rather than waiting to see ‘if’ one occurs. With this in mind, we have gone through 10 interesting (and alarming!) facts about cyber security to show you the current state of the cyber-security world and its effect.

  • 70% of organizations say that they believe their security risk increased significantly in 2017.

Attackers are becoming more advanced and the ‘black hat’ hackers who intend to harm and inflict damage are doing so at a faster rate than the ‘white hat’ ones who use their skills for ethical hacking. This unfortunately means that security risks are expected to continue to grow; protecting your business has never been more critical.

  • It takes most companies over six months, or around 197 days to detect a data breach.

Cyber-attacks can cause great damage to your organisation and it can be difficult as well as time-consuming to recover from them. Experts often say the impacts of cyber-attacks can be divided into three parts- financial, legal and reputational. The trust between you and your customers can not only be destroyed, but you can expect to see huge financial losses along with harsh legal consequences.

  • More than 4,000 ransomware attacks occur every day.

Ransomware is a form of malicious software which takes over the computer of a victim and prevents them from accessing their data until they pay a ransom. The earliest development of this type of attacks occurred in the late 1980’s and since then its capabilities of it are continually increasing. It is one of the most common types of attacks today being aimed at organisations of all sizes. It can be alarming as attackers can threaten to reveal data or perpetually hold it until the ransom has been paid.

  • 76% of businesses reported being a victim of a phishing attack in the last year.

Phishing attacks are also a common problem in the business environment. Phishing is a type of social engineering attack in which cyber-criminals use deceptive emails or websites to gather personal or sensitive information. By disguising themselves as a trustworthy source, cyber-criminals will attempt to trick you into opening an email and clicking on a link or file. The repercussions of phishing attacks include financial loss as well as identity theft.

  • There were over 3 million crypto jacking hits between January and May 2018.

Crypto-jacking is a fairly new type of threat where malicious software hides without your knowledge on your device and uses the machine’s resources to ‘mine’ forms of online money known as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. As crypto-jacking doesn’t require significant technical skills, anyone could target your business in theory, making it one of the scarier threats facing businesses.

  • 91% of cyberattacks begin with a spear-phishing email, which is commonly used to infect organizations with ransomware.

Similar to the classic phishing attack, spear-phishing attacks are when cyber-criminals send emails appearing to come from a trustworthy source. However, the difference is that spear-phishing attacks are highly targeted and only sent to selected individuals. Attackers will research the interned victim’s social media profiles thoroughly and create an email that is entirely credible and related to the victim. These types of attacks are more successful than the classic phishing attack as they are highly customised to the victim.

  • 100,000 groups in at least 150 countries and more than 400,000 machines were infected by the Wannacry virus in 2017, at a total cost of around $4 billion.

After hitting the NHS and many other well-known organisations, the Wannacry virus was a worldwide attack. It highlighted the importance of security checks and updates on IT equipment in business. Although Microsoft had issued a patch for the vulnerability previous to the attack, many companies hadn’t applied it and hackers therefore, targeted this. The hackers encrypted data and demanded a ransom payable in Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Luckily, after Microsoft issued emergency patches and with the help of a kill switch which prevented the ransomware from spreading further, the attack was stopped within a few days.

  •  41 percent of companies have over 1,000 sensitive files including credit card numbers and health records left unprotected.

By leaving your files unprotected, you are exposing yourself and your business to attackers. What would be the effect on your business if cyber-criminals got hold of your files? Will you be held responsible and lose the trust of your customers? In the UK there are strict data protection and privacy laws. Therefore, if you were to the victim of an attack, you want to be sure you aren’t scrutinised and held responsible as you left important files unprotected.

  • 65 percent of companies have over 500 users who never are never prompted to change their passwords.

A password is often one of the only elements standing between a cyber-criminal and their ability to gain access to accounts. Because of this, it is paramount to have the right policies in place to help guide your employees to security best practices. This is a scarily high percentage of firms not prompting their users to change their passwords.

  • In 2019 IOT (Internet of Things) devices will become major targets for malware attacks.

Through the Internet of Things (IoT), we are verging closer to a completely connected world. Therefore, it is worth thinking about the security risks it can impose. As IoT devices such as smart TV’s and smart speakers are not currently built with security in mind, they can be easily exploited.

Understanding the security risks we face in today’s society is crucial so you can best protect yourself and your business. Most individuals are not aware of how widespread attacks are becoming. The time is now for people to change their outlook on this.

Please contact Serval IT Systems if you would like assistance on improving the IT security in your business.