Cyber security should be a priority for all industries, especially given the fast pace of digitization. Regardless of your sector, the cyber risks posed in the digital era should not be ignored. The consequences are too dire from loss of reputation to fines and in the worse-case scenario, loss of the entire business.
Unfortunately, many organizations still fall behind in terms of their security awareness and also in terms of effectively protecting their networks, systems, and devices from ongoing threats. In fact, many security mechanisms are simply outdated. Further, employees are not adequately trained in cyber security best practices. Invariably, it is crucial to get the entire business involved in cyber security to ensure better resilience.
Any business that wants to thrive in the digital age must establish and maintain effective cyber security protocols. In addition, this will help to prevent massive risks in the long run.
What is cyber crime?
Cyber crime involves the “hacking” or theft of data by exploiting weak networks or end users through phishing and spamming. Criminals who partake in these types of acts are called hackers, threat actors, or cyber criminals. Some of the most common digital crimes include:
● Stealing financial records
● Stealing health records
● Identity theft
● Unauthorized network access
● Spreading malware, viruses, worms, or ransomware
● Denial-of-service (DoS) attacks
Cyber crime is now a trillion dollar business. It will not go away anytime soon. As a result, it is crucial to remain vigilant. Every industry needs a cyber security plan. Here are just a few of the industries most affected by digital threat actors:
Healthcare – Over a million health records are hacked every year. These extremely sensitive records can be sold on the dark web for hundreds of dollars each. In contrast, it costs only $8 per patient to prevent a cyber attack. So then, healthcare facilities can retain uptime, maintain their reputation, and save hundreds of thousands in regulatory fines and liability. Not to mention, ransomware attacks are one of the most popular forms of cyber crime.
If a hacker decides to break into a hospital’s critical care systems, lives could be at risk as well. The highly-covered WannaCry ransomware attack shackled Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). Healthcare cyber security isn’t just vital for data records and patient care, but it is imperative for facilitating HIPAA compliance.
Manufacturing – The manufacturing industry can include textiles, electronics, automotive, pharmaceuticals, and more. The most targeted manufacturers are automotive and chemical. Unquestionably, intellectual property is highly valuable in manufacturing. Therefore, manufacturing is a prime target for financially-motivated hackers. Yet, risk compliance regulations aren’t as strict for the manufacturing industry as they are for financial services or healthcare. As you can see, manufacturing cyber security is essential.
Government – Naturally, government agencies are goldmines for hackers. The government houses data of every sort from social security numbers to digital fingerprints and commercial contracts.
Since 2006, cyber attacks on government agencies have skyrocketed by 1,300%. Nonetheless, government cyber security has not been as strong as it should be. For some agencies, rotating in-house IT teams are necessary due to the nature of their data. And, bureaucracy makes it difficult for the government to be as agile as it needs to be to mitigate modern threats.
Non-Profit – Experienced hackers will take any data they can get. They are not going to discriminate based on organizational size or data type. Any stolen data can be sold on the dark web for a profit. So then, hackers understand which industries are less prepared for a cyber attack. And, this includes non-profits.
Since these types of organizations vary in size, and mission, non-profit cyber security has been challenging. There are many non-profits just struggling to make payroll. But, the cost of a well-executed cyber attack can be devastating. For instance, in 2017, Save the Children was scammed out of $997,400 by a hacker pretending to be an employee. There are many other similar scenarios throughout the non-profit sector.
Finance – Without question, the financial services industry can be quite lucrative for threat actors. Banks are a favorite. There isn’t a major bank open today that hasn’t been breached. There is a great need for better finance cyber security.
As more consumers move to online banking, this issue will continue to persist. Yet, many hackers aren’t even exploiting networks. Instead, much of the hacking comes from insiders and/or stolen devices. Banks handle massive amounts of money, and most cyber criminals are in the business of making money.
Higher Education – Some of the most common threats to higher education are malware and ransomware. Schools host a treasure trove of data from credit card details to government-issued IDs and private contact information. Moreover, educational records can be sold on the dark web to people who are trying to obtain better employment opportunities or even to change their identities.
On the smaller end of the spectrum, some people hack to change their grades or to delete specific types of records. Schools have a huge amount of online activity, which can be easily exploited through the most basic hacking techniques. Higher education cyber security is not an option.
Marketing & Media – Marketing & media are extremely vulnerable to cyber attacks simply because they have much more visibility. This is especially true in the case of cyber terrorists who want to send a message. Today, most media content is digital whether it is images, games, audio, or music.
Also, there is high demand for digital media content and many people are drawn to illegal download sites who promise “free” access. Well, there is always a price to pay in terms of exposing end user’s devices to malware and more. Without question, marketing & media cyber security should be enhanced.
There isn’t a sector today that is impenetrable. If a single device in the network is compromised, it can spread to every other device. Marketing uses various online tools for deploying their campaigns. If just one tool is vulnerable, it can produce a domino effect on the entire organization. In the worst case scenario, the threat can spread to customers and vendors. In this day and age, hackers have more entry points than ever to attack any organization.
Insurance – Insurance holds a lot of customer data that can be used for fraud. Anthem, a large health insurance provider, had 78.8 million records breached. These records included Social Security numbers, personally identifiable information, and medical IDs. Even State Farm Insurance has incurred data breaches.
Yet, it’s not just the major insurance firms getting attacked, even smaller insurance agencies have been victimized by malware and phishing attacks. Threat actors are always on the hunt for businesses who have to store massive amounts of data. Insurers have medical, financial, and personally identifiable data – all of which are highly valuable on the dark web and the black market.
Insurance cyber security is extremely important given the sensitive nature of the data they store.Plus, maintaining customer trust is paramount to survival. And, industry-based regulations demand security to ensure compliance.
Logistics – The world is being taken over by digitization, and logistics is no exception. Consider the jaw-dropping growth of e-commerce. As a result, many logistics companies are doing their part to stay ahead with advanced technologies. Logistics cyber security needs to be designed to mitigate new and growing threats. Another major weak spot has been supply chain cyber security.
Energy – An ongoing worry for many, not just in government, is the day when hackers break into the power grids. Imagine the chaos that might ensue. While the energy sector is highly regulated, there are still many opportunities for hackers to exploit. If a hacker were to induce widespread power outages, not only would there be chaos but the health and safety of millions of citizens would be at risk. So then, energy cyber security should be a priority. In this case, effective restoration services are also imperative.
In the digital age, every employee needs to be a consumer advocate for cyber security. With the increasing number of daily digital threats, cyber security should be everyone’s responsibility.