Report: Cyberattacks Could Lead to ‘Catastrophic Financial Loss’ for Businesses

A new report from the Government Accountability Office found that cyberattacks and their cost are seriously on the rise.
Conor Cawley

Businesses need to start taking cybersecurity more seriously, as one government agency is warning that ignorance of best practices can lead to “catastrophic financial loss.”

You've likely seen stories on the news about organizations falling victim to cyberattacks. Businesses, schools, and even entire cities have had to pay millions of dollars to hackers in order to restore stolen data.

Still, most owners and managers aren't doing enough to shore up security at their businesses, which could negatively impact their bottom line in a serious and irreversible way.

GAO Report Warns of Dangers of Cyberattacks

According to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the financial implications of lax cybersecurity measures could be dire, particularly in important sectors that keep the country running smoothly.

“Cyber risks are growing and cyberattacks targeting critical infrastructure—like utilities or financial services—could affect entire systems and result in catastrophic financial loss.”

The report found that cyberattacks in general are very much on the rise and the financial cost of these cyberattacks is getting worse and worse over time, particularly when it comes to business email compromise.

Cost of Major Cyber Incidents Graph

Even worse, organizations have fewer and fewer options when it comes to recouping losses from cyberattacks. The report stated that cyber insurers have been hesitant and even actively avoiding paying out cyberattack claims, claiming that if they don't constitute terrorism, they aren't responsible.

“Private insurers have been taking steps to limit their potential losses from systemic cyber events… Cyberattacks may not meet the program's criteria to be certified as terrorism, even if they resulted in catastrophic losses.”

Suffice it to say, finding a way to protect yourself from cyberattacks could make a huge different when it comes to the financial wellbeing of your company.

How to Protect Your Business Online

With the threat of “catastrophic financial loss” hanging over your head, it can be pretty stressful to run a business in 2022. Fortunately, stopping hackers in their tracks isn't impossible, and we've reviewed a wide range of cybersecurity tools for businesses that can keep you one step ahead of looming security risks.

The best place to start is a password manager. With the majority of security breaches starting with poor password security, getting your team on board with a password manager can keep credentials safe while alerting you to potentially vulnerable logins. VPNs are also key for businesses, as it will allow your remote employees to access company systems without putting you at risk. Finally, antivirus software will really shore up your security, providing you with the tools to detect threats before they become a serious problem.

All these tools are a good start, but as a business, you really need to be investing in cybersecurity professionals on your team. These threats evolve on a daily basis and having someone that knows what they're doing can keep you safe from “catastrophic financial loss.”

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Conor is the Lead Writer for Tech.co. For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at conor@tech.co.

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