- April 7, 2017
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Cybercrime: The Growing Threat to Corporate Data
Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly targeted and more widespread; in 2016 hackers showed their capabilities by hacking the government, political parties, using malware to bring businesses offline, and target individuals.
External and Internal Hacks Threaten Data
According to Risk Based Security (RBS), more than 4,149 breaches, that exposed over 4.2 billion records, were reported in 2016, a more than 30% increase compared to 2013, the previous all-time high. Among those breaches, six made the list of the top 10 biggest breaches, ever. Yahoo, which exposed more than 1.5 billion records in its multiple incidents in 2016, tops the list. Furthermore, as companies grow and continue to collect data, hackers are becoming increasingly attracted to them, and more Fortune 100 companies are expected to be targeted in 2017.
RBS additionally reported that more than half of 2016’s breaches were a result of hacking. However, insiders advocating malicious intent or carelessness accounted for more than 200 million incidents that affected nearly 70% of companies. While insiders were not the primary source of most breaches, it’s likely that these numbers will grow. Thanks, in part, to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, employees have more access to data than ever, making organizations increasingly vulnerable to attacks.
Employee Awareness and Training Reduce the Risk of Breaches
Companies should instill a security culture among their employees to safeguard against compromises where there is no malicious intent, and data has been released due to mistake, negligence, or some other unintentional cause. To prevent the mistakes that lead to breaches, safety—both physical and digital—should be something employees are encouraged to talk about and find solutions for. With greater awareness, employees become invested in and proactive about preventing mistakes, and breaches are less likely to happen.
Attacks targeting businesses with fewer than 250 employees have also been on the rise the past five years, and according to Symantec’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report, in 2015, 43% of all cyberattacks targeted small businesses. But it’s not only customer information that is at risk; companies’ intellectual property can be stolen, too—devastating the potential valuation of a start-up.
Security and risk management research firm, CSO, predicts that by 2019, unfilled cybersecurity jobs will reach 1.5 million. Already there is a severe shortage of cybersecurity talent globally—there were 1 million cybersecurity job openings in 2016, and that is expected to reach 1.5 million by 2019. As a result, the cybersecurity unemployment rate has dropped to zero percent.
It’s a Question of When Not If
Cybersecurity has changed from an IT-only issue to an organizational problem that requires C-suite leadership to work with IT professionals to build a resilient workforce and implement new security strategies and policies. Organizations must offer security training and encourage employees to take responsibility when it comes to their data. Giving workers the tools to identify suspicious activity and develop step-by-step response plans will be key to preventing security breaches that could severely damage businesses.
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