Why Cybersecurity Is a Must, No Longer Just a “Nice to Have”

Startup Fortune

Most companies conduct their day-to-day business through the internet, which has made them increasingly vulnerable, more than ever to cybersecurity attacks. Consequences of a cybersecurity breach are becoming more detrimental and costly to businesses as cybercriminals have become more sophisticated and intrusive in their attacks. This is why cybersecurity is no longer a “nice to have” – it’s a must.

We sat down with the MSSP experts at VirtualArmour to learn what cybersecurity threats we need to keep an eye out for, and what steps businesses should be taking to safeguard their digital assets.

Why is Cybersecurity so Important?

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting your programs, systems, and networks from digital attacks. A successful approach to cybersecurity relies on a variety of tools and tactics to thwart potential breaches. Should a breach occur, robust cybersecurity protocols can also help mitigate damage, minimize downtime, and give companies the tools they need to learn from the breach and improve their defenses.

So why is cybersecurity so important? Without proper protocols in place a breach could result in significant financial hardship or even bankruptcy.

The Most Costly Security Breaches of 2018 & 2019

Not only can a breach expose private or sensitive data, disrupt work, and sour client relations and public perception, they can also come with serious financial costs. Both 2018 and 2019 saw some large scale breaches, affecting millions of people worldwide. Here are some of the biggest and most expensive:

Facebook – Cambridge Analytica ($100 Billion)

This 2018 breach affected 87 million Facebook users worldwide, and once it was uncovered caused Facebook’s share price to drop by more than $100 billion. 

Uber ($148 Million)

The Uber 2016 breach, which wasn’t discovered until 2017, saw the personal information of 600,000 drivers and 57 million customers accessed by hackers. In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission fined Uber $148 million in relation to the incident.

CapitalOne (Between $100 Million and $150 Million)

The 2019 CapitalOne breach, which exposed the personal information of 100 million Americans and 6 million Canadians, ended up costing the credit card company between $100 million and $150 million.

Marriott Starwood Hotels (at Least $28 Million)

With as many as 500 million people affected, the 2018 Marriott breach cost the company over $28 million. However, the actual costs of the incident may end up being much higher as customers shy away from the chain, resulting in lost business. As a result of the breach, Marriot may end up seeing billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Baltimore Ransomware Attack ($18 Million)

In May 2018, cybercriminals encrypted thousands of city computers in Baltimore and demanded $76,000 in Bitcoin to remove the malicious software. Though the city refused to pay, the entire incident ended up costing the city $18 million, and both city employees and residents were significantly impacted.

Texas Ransomware Attack ($12 Million)

2019 was also a rough year for Texas, as 22 local governments were hit in a ransomware attack. Though local authorities refused to pay the combined ransom of $2.5 million, the incidents ended up costing $12 million to rectify.

Attacks to Look Out For in 2020

Cybercriminals are continually changing their tactics in an effort to stay ahead of cybersecurity experts. However, some types of attacks remain popular.

Phishing

Phishing scams attempt to trick unsuspecting users into revealing personal information, including usernames, passwords, and banking details. They usually involve emails reportedly originating from a trusted source (such as your IT company, your bank, or even a co-worker). 

How to Protect Yourself

Always evaluate each email critically and ask yourself if this is the sort of email you could reasonably expect from this person or company. When in doubt, contact the purported sender via another method (such as a new email sent to a known email address or a phone call) and verify that the email is from them. You should also report the email to your IT or cybersecurity professional.

Unless you are sure the email is trustworthy, never open attachments or click on any links.

Malware

Malware (including ransomware and viruses) is short for malicious software and is a catch-all term for any piece of software designed to cause damage or do harm to a computer, a server, or a network. 

How to Protect Yourself

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself from malware. As with phishing, never click on links or open attachments in suspicious emails, since doing so could allow your computer to download malware. The same goes for suspicious pop-ups that ask you to download software. You should also keep your antivirus and firewall up to date.

Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

Software vulnerabilities are tiny, unintended flaws in computer programs. When software manufacturers discover these flaws, they issue patches to address them so that cybercriminals can’t use these potential security holes to gain access to user’s machines and accounts.

Zero-day vulnerabilities refer to malicious software created by cybercriminals to take advantage of these security holes before all users have installed the patch. 

How to Protect Yourself

The best thing you can do to protect yourself from zero-day vulnerabilities is to keep your software up to date and diligently download and install security patches as they are issued. 

Conclusion

Not everyone needs to be a cybersecurity expert. However, all businesses should have a basic understanding of cybersecurity best practices and know what steps they can take to help safeguard their digital assets. 

To help people get started, VirtualArmour has published a detailed blog post “19 Essential Cybersecurity Best Practices”.

News Source: StartupFortune.com

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