2017 has surely turned out to be a fruitful year for cybercriminals. Only halfway through, and we have witnessed some major meltdowns including the Mayday situation that was the WannaCry Ransomware attack, the biggest ever leak of confidential tools from the NSA and CIA, WannaCry’s deadlier cousin Petya’s apparently masking targeted cyber attacks on Ukraine, and the latest case of the Equifax data breach that compromised the personal information of more than 143 million Americans and 10,000 Canadians.
It signals only one thing. Hacking attacks are on the rise with no likelihood of stopping anytime soon.
There is a reason why ‘Cybersecurity’ is sitting solidly in 3rd place on the Allianz Risk Barometer Top Business Risks for two consecutive years. The risk percentage calculated is 30%, only 1% lower than the proud second place – Market Fluctuations.
If we delve into the specifics, there was a total of 918 (big and small) data breaches recorded in the first half of 2017, compromising a total of 1.9 billion data records, according to the latest reports published by Gemalto. The same report showcased the 164% surge in the number of lost, stolen or compromised data, as compared to the last year’s numbers.
Gemalto’s Breach Level Index further highlights the current state of cyber breaches – how, out of 918 cases recorded, only half correctly state the exact details of the attack while the other half is highly unknown in terms of number of compromised records. Addtionally, 22 of them included some high-profile cases with millions of compromised records.
Many cybercrime predictions were presented last year and the possibility of the number of attacks doubling by 2017 is one of them. Well, it seems that hackers were thinking along the same lines. It’s only September and the prophecy has already been proven right, if that 164% says anything.
These frequent and ever-evolving cyber breaches are even negatively affecting the share prices of the organizations that have come under attack. Gemalto’s report states that about two-thirds of the affected firms recorded a loss of $52.40 billion on the shareholder’s end. That’s a big amount. No doubt the share prices are dropping as we speak.
The leak of personal consumer data is another big challenge. Many such reports were witnessed this year, including the high-profile case of the MINDEF Cyber Breach in Singapore or the current Equifax case. The former witnessed the loss of the personal information of 850 national servicemen and staff including their Singapore ID numbers, telephone numbers, and birth dates, while the latter leaked several million social security numbers, a permanent number that is used to identify a US citizen. This all affects consumer trust, which is essential for any organization.
Unfortunately, the biggest roadblock faced in terms of cybercrime data is companies not reporting it on time, or not reporting at all. In many cases, companies don’t even realize they have been breached for a long long time. The reasons can be many, from lacking cybersecurity measures to simple ignorance.
Regulatory bodies around the world seem to have come to terms with hacking, constantly proposing tighter compliance measures. They expect transparency on the data breach end, reprimanding and fining if companies fail to comply.
This is not the end. The number of cases is expected to grow with the passing months – maybe because of stricter regulatory laws, maybe because of hacker’s malicious intent. But one thing is sure, we cannot put a stop to their intentions but we can surely prevent such attacks from happening. Layered cybersecurity measures are key and every organization must utilize them to stay safe from such attacks!