According to new studies by the World Economic Forum and the Institute of Internal Auditors, cyber attacks are the biggest threat faced by businesses in the European, North American, and East Asia/Pacific regions.
12,000 executives from across the world took part in the Regional Risks for Doing Business report and highlighted that the threat from cyber-attacks is a major concern for many businesses. In Europe, cyber-attacks were ranked as the number one threat.
Awareness of the threats grew in 2017 following many high-profile cyber-attacks making the headlines including WannaCry and NotPetya. Attacks that caused huge disruption to organisations across the world.
It's understandable that many businesses now rank cyber-attacks as the number one threat. Cyber-attacks across Europe increased by around a third in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017 only adding to concerns.
As well as the financial impacts, there is also the reputational damage a company has to deal with too. According to the Ping Identity 2018, Consumer Survey: Attitudes and Behaviour in a Post Breach Era, 78% of people would stop engaging with a business that had suffered a data breach. Nearly half of the people surveyed said that they would not sign up or use online services provided by a business that had suffered from a data breach.
attacks via email remain the most common form of threat to business. Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams, in particular, are a growing problem with the number of recorded attacks more than doubling in the latter half of 2017 and according to the FBI have cost the global economy $12 billion. A new report has shown that in the third quarter of 2018 the number of phishing attacks increased by 28% compared to the second.
With many businesses still using outdated software and hardware, malware continues to be a major threat. Often infecting a business via phishing scams or malicious links. Trojans have seen an uptick in usage by attackers.
The number of Ransomware attacks has fallen since its height in 2017 as attackers opt for using crypto miners to gather their cryptocurrency. Despite the fall in number the sophistication of Ransomware attacks has increased.
According to Kaspersky's Ransomware and Malicious Cryptominers 2016-2018 report, the number of recorded ransomware infections has declined by 30% over the past 12 months whilst crypto miners infections increased by 44.5% over the same time period.
Denial of Service attacks (DoS) or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can inflict significant disruption onto a business by making their online services and website unavailable for use. Such attacks can be immensely costly to businesses in terms of lost sales.
There are a few simple ways a business can reduce the risks posed by cybercriminals.
With the cyber threat constantly evolving you need to ensure that your devices and anti-virus software is kept up to date with the latest security patches. Services such as CyberScore™ allows an organisation to continuously understand its cybersecurity posture alerting them to any devices that need patching.
By introducing policies and procedures a business can reduce the risk of a cyber-attack. Read more about this here,
Businesses should promote a cyber aware culture by introducing cyber awareness training and by following the advice list in the government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme. Encouraging employees to do the cyber basics, however, requires those at the top to lead the way.
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