Companies worldwide are reported to suffer losses of almost $600 billion dollars annually to cybercrime, with data breaches compromising millions of customer accounts. Being aware of cybercrimes can enable companies and industries to implement strategies to protect their systems.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many organizations to rely on the cloud, exposing them to further attacks. Let’s look at cybercrime statistics and trends and how they influence customers and businesses. Let’s also cover some companies where incidents of cyberattacks have taken place in the recent past.
Most employees are aware of the existence of phishing attacks, but they don’t understand how it can lead to data compromise. The attackers use deceptive email to access information from a network. This leads to business email compromise, which is one of the worst phishing scams affecting many businesses.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), email account compromises or BEC attacks went up by 65% between 2019 and 2021. This is largely attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic that made many businesses adopt online transactions.
When employees work remotely, it is difficult to verify the legitimacy of their actions or requests. The current trends show that businesses will continue losing revenue and long-term reputations as a result of BEC attacks. In 2020, the Internet Crime Complaint Center by the FBI received numerous BEC reported cases, which led to losses amounting to $1.86 billion.
In 2021, the cost of data breaches shot up from $3.86 million to $4.24 million. This is the highest increase in the past 17 years. Data breaches are the major causes of loss of revenue in businesses. Research shows that 29% of companies that face data breaches lose revenue as a result. For instance, having a non-functional website may cause prospective customers to consider other options, but IT system failure can cause disruptions.
Other consequences of data breaches to businesses include:
- Hidden costs. These may include legal fees and regulatory fines. In addition, businesses may incur further costs on investigations and PR and also higher insurance premiums.
- Online vandalism. Hackers may disguise themselves as pranksters causing damage to a website.
- Brand reputation may be damaged. Besides the loss of revenue, data breaches may lead to brand reputation in the long run.
In September 2016, Yahoo encountered one of the worst data breaches affecting over 500 million users. In the same year, the company reported another data breach that exposed millions of user data. The company took a long to report the incidents, which could have led to more trouble with the relevant authorities.
Cryptocurrency mining malware
Cybercriminals are estimated to use cryptocurrency transactions for illegal activities to the tune of 70%. Cryptocurrency transactions are perfect for criminal activities because they are anonymous. According to a 2018 study by the University of Sydney, illegal Bitcoin transactions are valued at $75 billion per year. Since crypto can eliminate dirty money trails, it is one of the most demanded by cyber attackers.
The malware steals the infected machine’s resources, increasing their wear and tear and slowing down their performance. The malware could also threaten the integrity, security, and availability of a system or network, disrupting an organization’s critical operations.
Big tech companies such as Amazon and Google are on high alert regarding the crypto-malware threat that could affect their servers. According to Google Cloud, 86% of compromised instances were illegally used for crypto mining.
In 2019, ransom variants grew by 46%, while another 68,000 Trojans were detected among mobile users. It is projected that businesses will continue experiencing ransomware attacks in a span of 14 seconds. Ransomware techniques and tactics continued to evolve between 2019 and 2021 as a result of growing IT sophistication.
One of the notable consequences of malware is the loss of sensitive information. Malware attacks users in different industries, including government operations, small businesses and large establishments. Once Trojans and spyware are installed in devices, hackers can access company information and sensitive data to distribute to third parties.
Other effects of malware attacks include:
- Slow computers. The presence of malware on computer systems consumes large chunks of computer memory. Some malware replicates themselves, filling the hard drives and leaving little room for legitimate programs. This has been one of the causes of low productivity among workers.
- Restricted access to files. Some malicious software can delete or damage files and programs on computers. Unless the data is backed up on a different cloud server or hard drive, it becomes difficult to recover it after an attack.
Many hackers hunt for potential financial gain when there is unrest and disruption during times of crisis. Cyberattacks in the healthcare industry have drawn more attention since the COVID-19 disaster in 2020. According to a Comparitech study, ransomware attacks cost the healthcare industry over $21 billion in lost income in 2020 alone. Over the course of the year, 92 ransomware attacks affected over 600 hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations.
Identity theft occurs in the form of impersonation when cybercriminals are attempting to make online payments. Companies looking to get ecommerce sales must safeguard their credit card payment and bank transfer systems because payment systems are the most targeted.
In 2020, the incidences of identity theft increased by 45%, leading to massive losses for many American citizens. This trend continued in 2021, with Americans losing close to $60 billion dollars. Consumers reported losses of up to $3.3 billion in identity theft in 2020, representing 2 million reported cases.
In April 2019, Facebook experienced one of the worst data thefts where data sets were exposed to the public internet. 533 million records contained details of likes, comments, reactions and account names. This kind of crime has been a major concern in the telecommunication industry, given the different uses of such data.
The cybercrime statistics and trends are alarming, with many businesses citing loss of revenue as a major consequence. Understanding these statistics, trends and consequences will enable corporations to identify the best strategies to deal with cybercrimes. By minimizing or curbing cybercrimes, employees will be more productive, and businesses will be on a growth path.