Common Types of Cyber Attacks and Prevention

Worldwide cyber security spending will reach $133.7 billion by 2022, according to a Gartner Inc. prediction. Cyber attacks are growing increasingly sophisticated, forcing organizations to invest heavily in developing strategies for preventing data breaches.

Attacks

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by the University of North Dakota’s Online Master of Science in Cyber Security program.

Cyber Crime Statistics: Spending, Costs and Causes

Half of large enterprises – over 10,000 employees – spend $1 million or more annually on security. Though investments in cyber security are high, the costs of data breaches are even higher.

Cause for Concern

4.1 billion records were exposed by data breaches in the first half of 2019. 71% of these attacks were financially motivated, and 25% related to espionage. There’s also been a 67% increase in security breaches since 2014. On average, hackers attack 2,244 times a day, or once every 39 seconds. What’s more, 68% of business leaders believe their cyber security risks are increasing.

In 2019, just over half of all data breaches involved hacking. Other common forms of data breaches included malware, phishing and social engineering.

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The Cost of Cyber Crime

As of 2019, the average cost of a data breach is $3.92 million, and the average cost of a malware attack is $2.6 million. The health care industry was a big target in 2019, as it lost $25 billion because of data breaches. This figure, along with other high-profile data breaches involving companies like Equifax and Uber, demonstrate the high cost of cyber crime. The component driving most of these expenses is information loss, which generates an average of $5.9 million in loss.

There are several common causes of cyber crime. These include weak or stolen usernames or passwords, application vulnerabilities, malware, poor access control and insider threats.

Types of Cyber Attacks

Hackers use a sophisticated set of tools and tactics to penetrate networks and access data.

Cyber Crime Tactics

Some cyber crime tactics like Denial-of-service/distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, zero-day exploits and Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks use system vulnerabilities found in overwhelmed networks, two-party transactions, and issues waiting to be patched to infiltrate and wreak havoc. Another popular tactic involves the use of software to penetrate a system and disrupt key network components, such as malware, ransomware or spyware. In some cases, like phishing, this strategy relies on end-user deception, such as sending a fraudulent communication that looks like it comes from a trustworthy source. Other strategies rely on various forms of programming or coding disruption, such as SQL injection or DNS tunneling.

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Tips for Preventing a Data Breach

It is no longer a question of whether a cyber attack will occur but when. Individuals and organizations must take proactive steps to protect their devices and networks.

Cyber Security Tips for Individuals

It’s important to routinely update devices, as they usually address security vulnerabilities. It’s also wise to back up data on a regular basis to protect against ransomware. Additionally, individuals should never click on suspicious links when browsing the web. Individuals should also never recycle passwords and create completely new passwords for their online accounts. It’s also important to use two-factor authentication whenever it’s offered. Additionally, it can be vital to set up a virtual private network, or VPN, which can allow individuals the opportunity to access their home networks and limit their internet service provider’s ability to track internet activity. Finally, individuals should never use public Wi-Fi without protection.

Cyber Security Tips for Organizations

Organizations should take the time to train employees in basic security principles, such as building strong passwords and establishing internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating cyber security policies. They should also install antivirus software that is set to scan devices after each update. Additionally, organizations should enable or install a firewall to prevent outsiders from accessing data on the company’s network. Creating security requirements for mobile devices such as requiring employees to password-protect their devices is another way an organization can fight against cybercrime. Organizations can also consider controlling physical access to digital devices like laptops, allowing only trusted IT staff and key personnel to have administrative privileges. Additionally, organizations should follow best practices for processing payments. Finally, organizations should require employees to change passwords regularly – at least once every three months.

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