Cybercriminals have been creating chaos online for years. However, data breaches have grown in both frequency and intensity amid the pandemic. Research shows that breaches increased 273% in the first quarter, compared to the same period last year, mainly because so many businesses have taken their operations online.
Although companies of all sizes and industries are at risk, a handful of industries are most vulnerable:
The Top 5 Industries Most Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks
In 2021, cybercrime is anticipated to reach $6 trillion. With more and more sensitive data kept in the cloud than ever before, cybersecurity needs to be your top priority—especially if you are in one of these five industries.
Although all industries are potential targets for cybercrime, few are as vulnerable as the healthcare industry.
That is because the healthcare industry handles a significant amount of personal information. Each year, over a million records are compromised, costing an average of $200 per patient, according to PwC's Health Research Institute. These costs are due to restoring lost reputation, downtime, loss of business, and litigation.
Unfortunately, more large healthcare data breaches were reported in 2020 than any other year, with a 25% year-over-year increase and the largest attack was a ransomware attack. These crimes directly threaten patient safety and are growing at a rapid pace.
2. Financial Services
It’s no surprise that the financial services industry is also heavily targeted, as cybercriminals seek bank account information, credit card information, and other personal details financial institutions store. Research shows that financial services are 300 times more likely to be attacked, with malicious insiders being the most expensive attack. Risks have grown in recent years as attacks become more frequent and sophisticated.
3. Government Agencies
Whether hackers seek social security numbers, commercial contracts, or digital fingerprints, government-related cybercrime is particularly concerning. In 2020, hackers accessed systems at the National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains the United States nuclear weapons stockpile. This is just one example, as the year 2020 led to a significant boom in security events, and even as I was finishing this post there was a significant attack on Ireland's National Health Service.
This industry surprises some, which is exactly why retailers are vulnerable—they often implement poor security measures. This makes them easy targets, especially when hackers seek consumer credit card information.
During COVID, cybercrime against retail brands and eCommerce stores increased by 41%. These data breaches can have a major impact on a retailer's bottom line, and the effects can be long-lasting. Some of the greatest threats to eCommerce businesses include the loss of customer data (75%), fraudulent payments (52%), and DDoS attacks (44%).
5. Educational Institutions
Whether cybercriminals are after enrollment data, financial records, or academic research, educational institutions of all types are vulnerable. School districts and higher education institutions collect vast quantities of data. Cyber threats to educational institutions are on the rise across the globe, threatening schools in Asia, the U.S., and Europe. Between July and August 2020, the average number of weekly cyberattacks per educational facility grew by 30%.
The Value of Professional IT Services to Combat Cybersecurity
Professional cybersecurity services are an essential part of any business, especially those in any of the above industries. Working with a trustworthy IT professional can ensure that your valuable data remains protected and that you stay within compliance regulations for your industry.