Imagine your system has just been compromised. You’re on your computer, surfing the web, like any other day, when all of a sudden the screen goes black. Then, a suspicious message pops up, demanding that you pay a fee in order to access your information.
You take a minute and think about everything you have on this device — your passwords, bank details, credit card numbers — and you realize that all those assets are now in the hands of someone else who could do with them what they want. So, with brief hesitation, you choose to pay the ransom.
Cybercrime is bad enough when it happens to individuals, but imagine the effect it has on a company. Think of the damage it does to organizations of all sizes. Then consider what it costs them — and how attacks leave them devastated and scrambling to recover.
What’s the Cost of Cybercrime?
Cybercrime costs much more than the financial expenses incurred by an attack. Because it involves the destruction of data and theft of intellectual property, cybercrime costs time and loss of productivity as well as embarrassment. But it also goes much deeper than that and can cost organizations damage to their performance and irreparable destruction to their brand’s reputation.
Below are some additional cyber crime statistics that offer a glimpse into the reality of cybersecurity — and show how companies and organizations of all sizes are affected by it.
Spending and Statistics
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a rise in cyber crime activities, with it currently being up by 600%. But, in addition to that, here are some more eye opening cybersecurity statistics.
- The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million as of 2020. (IBM)
- 64% of companies have experienced web-based attacks. (Cybint)
- 68% of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing. (Accenture)
- Data breaches exposed 36 billion records within the first 6 months of 2020. (RiskBased)
- 45% of breaches featured hacking, 17% involved malware and 22% involved phishing. (Verizon)
Why So Many Companies are Unprepared
According to the Hiscox Cyber Readiness Report, 7 out of 10 companies aren’t ready to handle an attack. One common reason is that many small and midsize companies think cybersecurity is not something they have to worry about. They erroneously subscribe to the belief that data breaches only hit large enterprises and Fortune 500 organizations, not realizing that they’re also potential targets.
Steps You Can Take to Stop Cybercrime
Cybercrime continues to be an ongoing concern for organizations of all sizes — and no one is immune from an attack. Below, we’ve listed a few things you can do to safeguard your organization and make it less desirable for hackers.
1. Strong Network Security
When hackers look at systems, they seek an easy way in. If yours seems too challenging to penetrate or not worth the effort, they’ll likely move on.
Having strong network security is your first line of defense against an attack. It’s essential for every organization, large and small. Especially when you consider the damage a cyber attack could inflict.
Stable network systems protect client data and other important information from harmful spyware. They also keep shared data secure and ensure the stability of your network.
2. Two Factor Authentication
Two factor authentication requires you to take additional measures to verify your identity. Here’s how it works: you enter your username and password to access a website like you normally would. Then the site sends you an email or a text message containing a six-digit code. The code is considered the authenticator and becomes your key to accessing the system. If you don’t have the code, or if you enter it incorrectly, you can’t log on — even if the username and password you supplied are correct.
Two factor authentication provides another way for users to prove their identities before they are allowed to access an account. It allows information to stay safe and secure — helping to ensure sensitive account data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
3. Don’t Wait to Update
It’s always a good idea to make sure your operating system is running the latest version. Regular updates add new features to your devices and remove the ones that are old and outdated. They also repair holes, patch flaws, and fix and remove computer bugs.
Updates also help protect your data. Consider everything you have on your devices. You, more than likely, have tons of documents containing private information like email addresses and passwords that can be used to open up accounts or commit crimes in your name. Security updates uncover potential weaknesses like this and repair them right away.
4. Cybersecurity Training
Training provides a way to educate employees about the importance of cybersecurity. It also helps reduce human error, which is the reason for 95% of security breaches. Training sessions should be informational and engaging to ensure staff members understand the severity of cybersecurity and know exactly what is required of them. Team members must comprehend their role in protecting the organization’s sensitive data. When they are properly trained and know how to recognize and react to cyber threats, this will alleviate the risk of an attack.
5. Have an Action Plan in Place
Don’t wait for a cyber attack to occur before you decide to put together a plan. Be proactive and create one to ensure you’re prepared for the unknown.
Think of it like the full coverage car insurance policy you have on your vehicle. You wish you didn’t have to get it and hope even more that you never have to use it — but you know it’s there in case you do. Then, should you get in an accident, you know you’re covered — and you won’t have to pay thousands of dollars to cover your repairs.
A cybersecurity action plan is the same. Hopefully, you never have to use it, but if you do fall victim to an attack, you’ll know just what to do at that exact moment. Your plan will create a solid framework and ensure all members of your organization are on the same page.
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