When we think about cyberattacks, we tend to focus exclusively on the amount of damage they could cause to our networks. However, the impact of a data security breach can be felt in more ways than one. A successful cyberattack could result in a company paying hefty sums for system recovery, regulatory fines, and even litigation. While that shouldn’t come as a surprise, what may shock you is the actual cost of a data breach.
Between its own information and the personal information of your customers, your company possesses a lot of data. As a result, cybercriminals see your network as an enticing target just waiting to be invaded. Regardless of your industry, your organization has an obligation to protect the data of your clients as well as your business. With the high prevalence of cybercrime these days, it’s never been more important to be aware of the consequences of a data breach.
Part of being aware of the consequences is understanding the real cost of a data breach. In their most recent report, IBM and the Ponemon Institute found that the average cost of a cyberattack reached $4.24 million in 2021. That’s a 10% increase from the $3.86 million reported back in 2019. Furthermore, the global cost of cyberattacks is expected to hit $6 trillion.
After a cyberattack, there are several expenses a company may have to pay for. The joint report from IBM and the Ponemon Institute takes into account hundreds of cost factors that range from regulatory fines to customer turnover and much more. The findings are based on 537 breaches in 17 countries that cover 17 industries.
In 2021, cybercrime was up across the board, from zero-day exploits to server query language (SQL) injections. Some of the more notable types of attacks include:
- Web Application Attacks: Web applications are cloud-based productivity tools. One of the most popular web applications is Google Suite. These programs make it easy for employees to share files and collaborate. Hackers target these services because of their easy access and reliance on user input.
- Malicious Network Traffic: Malicious traffic is any suspicious link, file, or connection that’s created or received on a network. When opened, the threat can compromise a computer by creating a pathway for more malware.
- Trojans: A Trojan horse, or simply Trojan, is a type of malware that disguises itself as legitimate software. Once it’s on your device, it creates holes in your security.
- Spyware: Designed to steal your sensitive information, spyware hides in the background of your operating system and spies on what you do.
- Botnets: A botnet is a network of infected computers that work together to carry out other attacks online. Simply put, your computer becomes a zombie under the control of the attacker. One of the most dangerous botnets in history, dubbed Emotet, was actually taken down in 2021.
A development that fueled this problem was the switch to full remote or hybrid work environments. Remote workers don’t have access to the same level of cybersecurity as office workers, making them more vulnerable to attack. However, 2021 was undoubtedly the year of ransomware and phishing.
Since the start of the pandemic, phishing has skyrocketed as opportunists attempted to capitalize on the global health scare. This tactic uses social engineering to trick the victim into performing an action or revealing sensitive information. Phishing scams only ramped up further as we made our way through 2021.
The rise of ransomware can be attributed to geopolitical, behavioral, and cybersecurity issues. From the cybersecurity perspective, a lot of companies failed to implement strong cybersecurity solutions. After getting attacked, these victims responded by paying the ransom, which only encouraged more attacks. The geopolitical aspect involves the rise of ransomware gangs. These gangs operate around the world and either carry out attacks on their own or sell their ransomware programs to interested buyers.
The only way to avoid paying the cost for a data breach is to prevent the cyberattack from happening in the first place. You can do this by taking steps to strengthen your security posture, including:
- Educate Your Employees: Take the time to educate your staff on the dangers of ransomware and other cyberthreats. This can involve online courses, ongoing emails with cybersecurity tips, and more. The more your team understands the risks, the less likely they are to fall victim to an attack.
- Train Your Employees: In addition to education, you should train your workforce on how to spot suspicious activity. If you partner with a managed service provider (MSP), they can simulate cyberattacks that allow your employees to put what they’ve learned to the test.
- Implement Cybersecurity Tools: An MSP can provide your network with enterprise-level cybersecurity tools capable of thwarting a variety of cyberattacks.
- Maintain Communication: Maintain ongoing communication about cybersecurity with your staff.
- Configure Your Filters: Configure your anti-spam filters to flag file types commonly used to hide ransomware like .exe and .vbs.
- Create Backups: Frequently back up crucial files and systems so they can be recovered if a ransomware attack occurs.
The worst way to learn about the cost of a data breach is to experience it firsthand. Let the experts at The Logic Group help you boost your cybersecurity posture. With our monitoring services, we can identify suspicious activity in your network and provide the correct data breach response to protect your information.
Contact us today to learn more.