While the internet boom brought a range of benefits to society, it also brought an assortment of threats and challenges. Among these includes cybersecurity threats. Cyber-attacks are common, with countries, corporations, and ordinary individuals being attacked by a spectrum of crooks and scammers. Read on to learn more about why cybersecurity is a significant concern for governments and businesses today.
Cyber Attacks Happen on a Global Scale
One primary reason why cybersecurity is a concern is that cyber-attacks happen on a global scale. Private and state-sponsored hackers go after government institutions and private businesses, steal information, destroy the group’s security reputation, and lockdown essential systems.
There has been a deluge of hacks and breaches to governments, companies, and individuals in recent years. The attacks have caused billions of dollars in damages to recover data and penalties paid through fines. For example, Facebook, the global social media giant, had over $540 million in user records exposed to Amazon’s cloud computing service. Another example was when the international credit rating agency Equifax experienced a data breach. This breach affected $147 million in customer accounts.
First American Corporation also had $885 million in financial records exposed in a data breach. This attack leaked bank account information, social security numbers, wire transactions, and mortgage paperwork.
The UK National Health Service had its operations temporarily disabled with a ransomware attack in 2017. The attack resulted in the cancellation of operations and led to a costly clean-up.
What Are the Top Cybersecurity Threats Today?
According to cybersecurity experts, the top threats include phishing, ransomware strategies, cryptojacking, cyber-physical attacks, and state-sponsored attacks. Phishing attacks carefully target digital messages which are transmitted to fool individuals into clicking a link. Then, the cybercriminal can install malware or expose sensitive data.
Ransomware attacks are when hackers and scammers deploy systems that allow them to steal databases and hold the information for ransom. The rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is believed to have fueled recent ransomware attacks. This type of attack is estimated to cost its victims billions of dollars in damages every year.
Cryptojacking is a disturbing trend that involves cybercriminals hijacking third-party home or work computers to mine for cryptocurrency. Since mining for cryptocurrency requires great amounts of computer processing power, hackers can make a lot of money by secretly using someone else’s systems. Eventually, it causes severe performance problems and expensive IT downtimes.
Cyber-physical attacks target electrical power grids, transportation systems, water treatment facilities, nuclear plants, and more. According to a report by The New York Times, even the United States military systems are at greater risk of high-tech foul play.
State-sponsored cybersecurity attacks don’t just steal individual or corporate information. They can target an entire nation’s sensitive data. Australia has recently reported that state-sponsored cyberattacks have targeted its government institutions. These attacks are believed to have emanated in China.
What Can Be Done?
In 2019, Australians lost more than $95 million to online scams and data breaches. Your personal information could be stolen or destroyed, and you could lose your savings, identity, livelihood, and more.
To enhance your cybersecurity, you can secure your devices by setting a password, gesture, or fingerprint, which must be entered to unlock them. You can also set the device to require a password before applications are installed and leave Bluetooth hidden when not in use. Other tips include disabling automatic connections to networks and enabling remote locking and wiping functions. Protect yourself today by learning the various cybersecurity protocols, and prevent scammers and hackers from getting to your important information.