What threats do cyber attacks pose?

The cost of cyber attacks estimated at a staggering $400 million, is yet to be curbed and most institutions are facing these threats every day.

Some of the majorly hit institutions include government agencies, small and corporate businesses, and other critical organizations. 

Healthcare Facilities

Better accessibility to a patient’s health records provides healthcare facilities improved chances of providing quality health care.

Since the shift to digital storage of such data, the threats to cybersecurity have tripled. In 2018 alone, more than 15 million health records were breached.

Attacks included disruption of important patient records leading through denial of service attacks and installing malware that jeopardizes the integrity of patient’s information. 

In a severe example, hackers completely shut down the network of a trauma care center in the Erie County Medical Center for six weeks. Their screen went completely black and the only thing visible was the thousands of dollars of ransom that the attackers demanded.

Luckily, the medical center refused to pay and opted to go back to the manual system of recording information and was not severely hit by the attack. Though this was a lucky incident, a cyberattack on a health facility can bring great consequences and put patients’ lives at risk. 

Government Agencies

In a recent report compiled by CSO, a breach inside the U.S Office of Personnel Management (OPM) systems, saw the information of 22 million current and former employees get in the hands of hackers. The system breach which spanned two years stole sensitive information of employees including clearances, foreign travel data, and fingerprints obtained by hackers claimed to be operating from China.

State government agencies also face a greater risk, in particular those that still use outdated systems. Another report revealed that more than 50% of the systems state election commissions use are outdated, making them easy targets for cyberattacks.  

Businesses

The number of businesses affected by cyberattacks is by far the highest in all institutional bodies. High-profile breaches have caused millions to major companies- 540 million for Facebook, 412 million for Friend Finder networks, and a staggering 885 million for First American financial.

As such businesses are industry leaders in their respective fields, they have invested heavily in cybersecurity but still get cyber attacked.

Small businesses have also had their fair share of cyberattacks. In a recent case by insurance carrier Hiscox, the financial costs of cyberattacks in small companies have risen to $200,000 on average.

The risk seems higher in SME’s as 66% of top officials in small businesses are skeptical of cyberattacks and believe that they’re not a target by online criminals. Look at the case of Volunteer Voyages, a sole owner small business which incurred $14,000 in fraudulent indictment after a hacker breached its debit card information. 

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