Written by: Jay H.
All organizations are at risk of cyberattacks, yet some industries are at greater risk. Cybercriminals set their sights on more vulnerable industries that either deal with highly sensitive data or lack the cybersecurity infrastructure of larger corporations.
Today’s businesses cannot afford to remain complacent with their cybersecurity. After all, a single data breach costs organizations an average of $3.86 million! Unfortunately, the cybercrime market is booming for criminals looking to exploit businesses using malware and ransomware.
Let’s go over the top industries targeted by cyberattacks and how your organization can defend itself.
Top Targeted Industries By Cyberattacks
1. Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs)
Although media outlets cover major data breaches such as Netflix’s and Twitter’s, small- and medium-sized businesses are most vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Forty-three percent of cyberattacks target small businesses, and 60 percent of these victims go out of business within six months. Yet, 54 percent of SMBs believe their companies are “too small” to be hacked.
SMBs are lucrative targets for cybercriminals for several reasons. First, they lack the security measures and trained personnel of major corporations. This is primarily due to smaller cybersecurity budgets. Also, they possess data that is valuable to cybercriminals, including employee and customer personal data. Furthermore, in many instances, they connect to the supply chain of larger companies and are used to infiltrate the bigger organizations’ networks, as seen in the Target data breach.
The healthcare industry is one of the biggest targets for cybercriminals. Shockingly, over 93 percent of healthcare organizations have experienced a data breach in the past three years. And in the second half of 2020, healthcare data breaches increased by 36 percent.
Healthcare organizations are at significant risk of ransomware. Since they deal with extremely sensitive patient data, cybercriminals encrypt their data and force healthcare facilities to pay a hefty ransom for their release.
These attacks often originate from phishing emails laden with malicious links. Adding to their risk, many facilities do not perform regular backups, making them highly vulnerable to ransomware attacks.
Unfortunately, these cyberattacks sometimes exact a human cost as well as financial.
The financial and banking industry is a primary target for obvious reasons. After all, these organizations deal with the biggest motivator for cybercriminals – money.
Seventy percent of financial companies have experienced a cybersecurity incident in the past year, underscoring the severity of the cyber situation. Moreover, 26 percent of financial institutions have suffered a destructive cyberattack.
Financial and banking organizations must do more to protect client data and strengthen their cybersecurity strategy.
4. Government & Military
Threat actors target government and military organizations to either steal information or spy on operations.
Since these institutions deal with an abundance of personal information, they are valuable targets for hackers.
Also, foreign powers attempt to breach government systems to spy on or negatively affect them.
Governmental institutions must prioritize cybersecurity in order to secure classified data.
Today’s educational institutes depend on technology for day-to-day operations – and cybercriminals exploit this fact. Given this, the industry struggles against many cyber threats, including email hacking, information leaks, and devastating ransomware.
Without access to computer systems, many schools are incapacitated. In fact, some educational institutes cannot resume operations until ransoms are paid.
Schools and universities are prime targets due to their large attack surface. Also, students are easy victims of phishing attacks, and general cybersecurity awareness is low among parents, teachers, and faculty members.
Educational institutes must invest more in cybersecurity solutions, including educating students, staff, and parents on cyber threats.
The energy industry is in the crosshairs of attackers because of the damage disruptions can cause. For instance, a successful cyberattack can cause widespread power outages, which can endanger millions of lives.
Power grids, nuclear facilities, and power stations are all are risk of attacks. Furthermore, natural gas pipelines in Canada and the USA are regularly targeted.
Protecting critical infrastructure from cybercrime should be a top priority for the energy and utility industries.
Protecting Organizations From Cyberattacks
Cybercriminals are leveraging sophisticated attacks against organizations of all industries. Virtually every organization is at risk of a cyberattack, so your business needs to be proactive with its cybersecurity. Smart cyber hygiene for all firms includes enabling two-factor authentication, performing regular backups of all company data, using strong and unique passwords, and performing regular software updates.
However, for complete protection, organizations need to have dedicated personnel to manage their IT needs. That’s why many organizations choose to outsource their IT to a dedicated managed service provider such as Design2Web IT. We provide SMBs with fully managed IT services and technical support to let you focus on growing your business. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization.
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