The term “cyber security’ is still a relative unknown. Although technology continues to grow and become more integrated in our daily lives, the awareness of cyber security has hit a standstill. However, the need or demand for cyber security has clearly outpaced the limited supply of cyber security professionals/services. The recent news of major corporations being hit with cyber attacks, such as Scottrade, Sony, Cisco, has finally brought this issue to the limelight. Let’s take a look at the 10 most shocking cyber security facts that you should read about now!
1. Hacking Insider Jobs
According to Symantec, a whopping 59% of ex-employees admit to stealing confidential company information or digital property. This is a potentially disturbing fact considering that even those you trust and gainfully employ could be the ones that actually hurt you or your company the most. Once disgruntled or mischievous employees gain access to valuable information, the sky is the limit as to what they can do with it. It’s important to keep this in mind and to ensure all employees follow proper security protocols and have accountability.
2. Online Credit Card Worries
In 2014, a Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans worry about their credit card information being stolen online. The more scary statistic that people need to pay attention to is that roughly 27% of Americans reported stolen credit card information in the past year. It’s alarming that such a high number of Americans fear the worst for their credit cards, yet they didn’t do much to prevent this issue from occurring, which is evident in the high number of stolen card information.
3. Social Media Malware
These days, everyone is using social media as a form of staying in touch with friends, family, or even partake in the typical mindless news feed stalking. No need to worry, everyone’s guilty of doing it! The issue is that hackers are starting to direct their attention to these social networking platforms since the user engagement and active presence is so high. In other words, social media is a goldmine to attack online users. Facebook can be a haven for hackers to post ‘like’ or link jacking traps to entice users to click on fake posts that intentionally download harmful malware into their systems. This can set off a chain reaction of computers infected with malware, which the hacker can then remotely control to launch malicious attacks, such as a Distributed Denial of Service attack.
4. America’s Most Wanted — Cyber Criminal Edition
If you were a child of the 90's, you might remember that super famous show called, “America’s Most Wanted”, which featured criminals across the country and the heinous crimes they committed. Well, flash forward to present time and the FBI is gradually changing their focus to cyber criminals. The Bureau keeps a list of cyber criminals that are responsible for consumer losses ranging from $350,000 to more than $100 million dollars.
5. Unchecked Attacks
Here’s something to think about. It is reported that roughly 80 million to 90 million cyber attacks occur per year, which breaks down to about 400 new attacks every single minute. The sad part of that statistic? Over 70% of these recurring attacks go unnoticed! People need to start seeing the importance of website security and begin getting ready to prevent attacks from ever happening in the first place.
6. Costs of Cyber Crimes
According to a report by Hewlett Packard and the Ponemon Institute of Cyber Crime, American companies spend an average of $15.4 million a year dealing with hacking attacks. This is more than double the global average, which stands at $7.7 million. The most common type of hacking method was via DDoS, which we mentioned above.
7. Macs Are Just As Susceptible to Attack
There was once a long standing rumor that Macs or software created by Apple were safe from viruses or attacks since the majority of hackers tended to gravitate towards the more vulnerable PC users. It’s time to squash that rumor once and for all. Hackers don’t discriminate between operating systems and they certainly don’t shy away from a specific demographic of users just because more users are vulnerable on PC machines. Simply put, hackers will go where they want to go. If you have information that they deem valuable, then it pretty much doesn’t matter what type of system you are running. Forbes actually wrote a piece regarding Apple and its history of infections with viruses and malware.
8. Slow Adoption of Cyber Security Services
Most small and medium businesses are hesitant to implement some form of cyber security. According to the Department of Communications and Arts in Australia, only 2% of SMBs actually secure their systems and websites with proper protection. Furthermore, the department found that 60% of small businesses actually go out of business after suffering from a major cyber attack. The most dangerous type of thinking for most SMBs is that they assume their businesses are too small to ever be targeted. However, SMBs are some of the most sought after and repeatedly attacked websites due to the personal and private information their online businesses contain and the ease of access. The majority of SMBs can’t afford enterprise level protection and hackers know this. One remedy for SMBs could be to look for free web protection services, as well as receive training to learn how to create secure websites in the first place.
9. Power of Strong Passwords
It should be widespread knowledge that you should be changing your passwords early and often. In addition, your passwords should be a hard to guess or complicated sequence of characters. Bloomberg ran a study to prove how fast hackers can actually crack any password and the relative difficulty behind each task. For instance, 6 character passwords that only contained lower cased letters can be cracked in less than 10 minutes by skilled hackers. However, passwords that are 9 characters long with a mix of uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols would take 44,530 years for a hacker to crack. Everyone knows the need to create strong passwords, yet the most frequently used passwords of that year were ‘123456’, ‘password’, ‘qwerty’, etc. Don’t be one of these folks, unless you want your information to be hacked with relative ease.
For the last spot on our list, we just want to highlight the impact of cyber attacks. The world’s largest and most expensive cyber attack was in fact an email worm called MyDoom, which allowed hackers to remotely gain access to victims’ computers. This little worm caused mass destruction and cost a total of $38.5 BILLION dollars worth of damage. The last takeaway here should be to never overlook the power of cyber attacks and to always try to stay one step ahead of the cyber security game.