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Cyber Attacks Cost US Businesses $654 Billion in 2018

June 12, 2019

2:27 pm

Online security continues to be a serious problem without a viable solution for the business world, as a new report found that US companies lost $654 billion to cyber attacks in 2018.

If you haven’t noticed the onslaught of security breaches and data leaks in the recent years, you’ve clearly been avoiding the news for the sake of your mental health. Unfortunately, that hasn’t made the issue any less pressing, as hackers have been targeting individuals and businesses alike with reckless abandon. And the statistics behind this report are nothing if not alarming.

Hacking Stats for 2018

Security Breach Industry TypesThe report, conducted by ForgeRock, found that cyber attacks exposed 2.8 billion user records in 2018, costing US businesses a staggering $654 billion. This number represents outright lost capital, in addition to the “long-term effects of data breaches, such as loss to reputation, reduced customer loyalty and other soft costs.”

To make matters worse, the healthcare industry represented the most targeted sector, with organizations falling victim to 48% of all security breaches. As the report points out, this is likely due to strict regulations slowing IT improvements combined with the massive amount of data found within healthcare organizations.

“The healthcare industry has traditionally lagged in modernizing IT due to its strict regulatory environment,” reads the report. “Further, focus on usability improvements to drive adoption for non-technical audiences have at times outpaced security measures.”

The problem isn’t getting better either. The report showed that 2019 is off to a rough start as well, with financial service breaches already costing the industry $6.2 billion in Q1, which is a steep increase from $8 million in 2018. If this trend continues, these industries could see some serious issues down the road.

How Does This Happen?

The burden of cyber attacks typically falls on businesses, but the problem starts with individuals. In fact, according to the report, personally identifiable information was the leading cause of security breaches, accounting for 97% of all breaches. This has led to the majority (34%) of cyber attacks being perpetrated through unauthorized access, with dates of birth and Social Security numbers being the most targeted data, with 54%.

This, however, does not mean it’s your fault, or any individual’s fault for that matter. In addition to the data-thirsty nature of the modern hacker, the responsibility falls on businesses to make security a priority at their company. Whether it be through two-step authentication or some other means of added security, you’re running out of excuses for why you aren’t protecting your employees’ and customers’ personal information.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

Even with businesses investing $114 billion in information security products in 2018, these cyber attack numbers are still notably on the rise, and it’s because business owners, managers, and even individuals believe that a password is enough to protect you. Tragically, when it comes to businesses, that is not even remotely the case.

“At a minimum, enterprises need to consider modern, intelligent authentication methods that move beyond simple username and password and provide fine-grained authorization to protect and secure resources. This needs to be a top priority for enterprises of all types and industry sectors, as the evidence is clear that cybercriminals show no sign of slowing down.”

If you want to make sure you aren’t contributing to a security breach, here’s some advice to follow: make security a priority! Between password managers and VPNs, there are dozens of steps you can take the guarantee that your personal information is safe online. Whether you’re shopping online or running a business, the importance of diligent cybersecurity could be the difference between a burgeoning economy and more than half a trillion dollars down the drain.

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Conor is the Senior Writer for Tech.co. For the last four years, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His extensive background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host tech-centric events like Startup Night at SXSW and the Timmy Awards for Tech in Motion. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.