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The Growing Danger of Cybersecurity Threats

This graph shows some recent cyber-attacks and data breaches, along with an explanation of why they are on the rise. While cybersecurity threats have always been problematic, they were never as rampant as today, and organizations of all sizes are paying the price.

According to IBM’s recent Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average cost of a data breach has reached an all-time high. It has increased by 12.7% since 2020.

As per the Identity Theft Resource Center’s Data Breach Reports, there were 68 percent more data breaches in 2021 than in 2020.

It is estimated that 43 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses now, with many still believing that their small and medium size means they are not worth targeting due to their small size.

There is absolutely no doubt that cybersecurity has become more challenging due to data breaches, but these and other gloomy statistics do not explain why.

We must take a step back to answer this critical question and look at the bigger picture.

Increasingly, companies are adopting digital transformation to improve business processes, culture, and customer experiences. IT experts have been preaching the benefits of technology and innovation for decades.

In 2022, it was projected that $469.8 billion would be invested in digital transformation, and $1,009.8 billion would be invested by 2025.

Cybersecurity teams have more difficulty protecting organizations that depend on digital technology, and the consequences of a breach are exacerbated.

The importance of doing digital transformation properly — including a strong cybersecurity focus — does not diminish the value of digital transformation, however.

System interdependence is growing.

When personal computers appeared in the market around the late seventies for the first time, IT systems became increasingly complex and interdependent. IT systems used to be straightforward and isolated, with just a few computers, printers, and fax machines connected to a single server.

Increasingly, small organizations manage IT environments across on-premises, multiple clouds, and even edge environments. They rely on more vendors than ever before to provide them with the tools and resources they need, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Cybersecurity threats are similar to those faced by the organizations they serve, and they are interdependent so that a single cybersecurity incident can trigger an avalanche of security problems.

Over 100 organizations, universities, and government agencies were breached after Accellion, an American technology company that secures sensitive content communications, was late in fixing a critical vulnerability.

A robust vendor vetting process, partnering exclusively with vendors who meet their standards and industry regulations, is the only way organizations can avoid external supply chain threats caused by third parties’ data breaches. Data breaches caused by third parties can have devastating effects.

There has been an increase in the sophistication of threats.

Since 1988, the Morris worm, the first malware (named after its author, Robert Morris), has been propagating without human interaction using relatively primitive techniques. Over 450,000 malicious and potentially unwanted applications will be registered daily by the AV-TEST Institute by 2022.

Although the explosion of malware isn’t the main problem, it’s caused by variations of the same strains generated by algorithms, which are relatively easy to detect by anti-malware Software. As threat actors’ techniques become increasingly sophisticated, it becomes increasingly problematic.

The skill and determination of criminal groups make them so successful. Whether they experiment with different phishing lures, adjust the types of attacks, or find new ways to conceal their work, they have developed their techniques to increase success rates, says Tom Burt, Microsoft’s Corporate VP for Customer Security & Trust.

Cybercriminals can combine targeted phishing techniques with fileless ransomware to achieve their goals.

It is becoming easier for cybercriminals to commit crimes.

For example, cybercrime has changed from its early days when highly skilled hackers with an appetite for discovery and a keen desire to push boundaries were almost exclusively involved.

Rather than looking for new vulnerabilities to exploit and satisfy their curiosity, today’s cybercriminals are motivated primarily by the desire to make money. With just one click, virtually anyone can launch a large-scale attack with ease instead of searching for new vulnerabilities to exploit.

In addition to inflicting much damage on small organizations that have yet to give cybersecurity the priority it deserves, these tools and services may not even be sufficient to compromise a large enterprise with a dedicated cybersecurity team.

Data protection regulations increase costs associated with data breaches.

Depending on the breach’s severity, immediate remediation costs, revenue losses due to operational disruptions, or reputational damage will take years to resolve.

Data protection regulations imposed by the government, international, and industry institutions may also result in fines and legal fees if non-compliance is not addressed.

CCPA fines for violations can reach $2,500 and $7,500 for specific intentional violations. For example, companies doing business in California or with residents can face fines of up to $2,000.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must also be followed by organizations collecting or processing personal data about EU residents; if they do not comply, they could be fined up to €20 million and up to 4 percent of their worldwide turnover for the preceding financial year.

Several years after the data breach, IBM’s report states, “There is a substantial difference between high and low regulatory environments—the longtail costs.” According to a study by IBM, 24 percent of data breach costs are incurred over two years after the breach occurred in highly regulated industries.

Defending against cyber threats requires preparedness.

Obverse can help you be prepared when cybersecurity threats increase for reasons you cannot control.

Our cybersecurity professionals can manage your technology entirely for you, even if you do not have enough staff to staff a dedicated IT department. Schedule a free consultation now!