Cybersecurity: An Essential Guide for 2021

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In today’s digital landscape, no business is exempt from the threat of cyber attacks. With cybercrime surging by an astonishing 600% during the pandemic alone[^1^], companies are more vulnerable than ever to financial losses resulting from inadequate cybersecurity measures[^2^]. This comprehensive guide aims to provide business owners with vital statistics on various cyber attacks and actionable tips to prevent them.

Cybercrime Losses

By 2025, global cybercrime is projected to cost businesses a staggering $10.5 trillion annually[^1^]. This marks a threefold increase from the estimated $3 trillion in losses back in 2015[^1^]. Small businesses, in particular, are highly targeted, with 43% of cyber attacks focused on them[^3^]. Shockingly, fewer than one-sixth of these small businesses have the necessary defenses in place to thwart such attacks[^3^].

The consequences of cyber attacks extend beyond financial and systemic damage. Companies also suffer indirect costs, such as system downtime, damage to brand reputation, loss of data, and decreased productivity[^3^].

Cybersecurity stats

Common Types of Cyber Attacks

Understanding the most prevalent types of cyber attacks is key to developing a discerning eye for suspicious activity and taking appropriate preventive measures.

  1. Phishing:
    Phishing scams involve impersonating reputable sources, such as banks or internet service providers, via email or other electronic communications. These scams aim to trick individuals into revealing personal information, with notable losses of $57 million reported in a single year[^4^].

  2. Malware:
    Malware refers to malicious software that infiltrates devices without user consent. It can cause system crashes, enable unauthorized access to data, and facilitate information theft. The detection of malware has surged from 172 million incidents in 2015 to almost 678 million in 2020[^5^].

  3. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks:
    Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks occur when an attacker intercepts communication between two parties or between an individual and a machine. By redirecting victims to fraudulent websites that mimic legitimate ones, hackers can collect sensitive data. Shockingly, 95% of HTTPS servers are vulnerable to MITM attacks[^6^].

  4. Data Breaches:
    It takes an average of 197 days for companies to detect a cybersecurity breach, leading to severe damage to their reputation and assets[^7^].

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Cybersecurity breach

It is crucial for businesses of all sizes to be aware of the impact cyber attacks can have and to take proactive measures to prevent them.

Industry-Based Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

While comprehensive cybersecurity measures are essential for businesses across all sectors, certain industries face a higher risk.

  • Financial institutions: Banks and credit unions are major targets due to their access to customers’ personal and financial information.
  • Healthcare institutions: Hospitals and healthcare organizations safeguard sensitive data, including social security numbers, billing information, and medical records.
  • Companies: Businesses hold not only employee and client data, but also invaluable intellectual property, marketing strategies, and contractual agreements[^8^].

Cybersecurity Best Practices

In addition to ensuring that data breach insurance meets organizational needs, several best practices can significantly reduce the risk of cybercrime.

  1. Minimize data transfers: Limit the movement of crucial data between devices as much as possible.
  2. Verify download sources: Only download files from trusted and verified websites, avoiding suspicious links that may lead to the installation of malware.
  3. Keep software updated: Regularly update software applications to benefit from the latest security measures developed to counter evolving cyber threats.
  4. Encrypt sensitive data: Utilize encryption tools whenever possible to safeguard information from unauthorized access. Employ strong passwords, comprising a combination of letters, numbers, and characters, and update them regularly.
  5. Stay vigilant: Employ data breach monitoring tools to detect suspicious activity promptly and prevent data theft in real-time.
  6. Have a contingency plan: Be prepared for data breaches with a pre-established, organization-wide plan to mitigate further damage and reverse the harm caused[^9^].

Cybersecurity measures

Cybercrime poses an ever-growing threat to businesses and individuals worldwide. Taking proactive measures to prioritize cybersecurity is crucial. Don’t wait until a cyber attack wreaks havoc on your organization—establish cybersecurity as a top priority today[^10^].

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[^1^]: Source: Embroker
[^2^]: Source: IT Chronicles
[^3^]: Source: Accenture
[^4^]: Source: FTC
[^5^]: Source: Consumer FTC and Statista
[^6^]: Source: Internet Society and Netcraft
[^7^]: Source: IBM Security
[^8^]: Source: IT Chronicles
[^9^]: Source: IT Chronicles
[^10^]: Source: IT Chronicles

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