In today’s fast-paced business ecosystems, mostly all industries are a target of cybercriminals. However, not every industry is lucrative compared to a few. Hence some industries are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks than others.
For any cybercriminal, the reason to hack is to extort money from the victims. Malicious actors today focus on lucrative industries, raking them tremendous profits by executing even a small cyber-attack. The dark Web is a platform that strengthens the capabilities of these criminals because these platforms allow malicious actors to sell the sensitive data of the victim organization. Cybercriminals even can sell benign data that could offer value to hackers to execute their cyber-attacks successfully.
This article looks at the top three industries vulnerable to full-blown cyber-attacks.
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According to a report by Statista titled “Distribution of cyber-attacks across worldwide industries in 2022,” the manufacturing industry had the highest shares of cyber-attacks compared to the other sectors. The research highlights that manufacturing businesses accounted for nearly 25% of the total cyber-attacks across industries. One of the significant reasons for this happening is that today’s industrial environments are becoming more connected with the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT).
The adoption of IoT in the enterprise tech stack makes it more vulnerable to sophisticated cyber-attacks that can disrupt operations or steal intellectual property. Manufacturing industry veterans should consider implementing a robust encryption strategy to secure the organization’s intellectual property. Along with strong encryption, businesses need vigilant identity access management to ensure that only authorized personnel can access it.
Security leaders of manufacturing industries need to implement the best malware removal software. Moreover, it is also crucial to conduct security audits regularly to prevent cyber-attacks. Manufacturing businesses should educate their workforce to stay vigilant while downloading software or update from unauthorized sources. Organizations should implement reliable antivirus and malware-remediation software to monitor the entire operations technology (OT) networks, identify potential threats, and highlight them to the concerned authorities.
Another industry that tops the chart in the primary targets of cyber-attacks is the Banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector.
The same report by Statista highlights that finance and insurance witnessed around 19% of cyberattacks in 2022.
There are various obvious reasons why this industry is a preferred industry by malicious actors. This industry is a primary target of cyber-attacks because it has all the customers’ sensitive personal information.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) expects penetration testing for financial institution compliance. All the organizations in the BFSI sector should ensure the security and confidentiality of customer data to respect the customers right to privacy. Moreover, BFSI businesses must establish effective strategies to restrict unauthorized access to customers’ sensitive information. It is also crucial for the security leaders of BFSI industries to ensure that customer information is correctly gathered, stored, and disposed of. Data theft and server attacks are common concerns for today’s financial institutions. In organizations that leave sensitive data unprotected, malicious actors can leverage multiple vectors to infiltrate servers with exposed files to steal sensitive personal and financial data. The surge in the adoption of mobile banking applications has also resulted in the rise of attacks through app-based Trojans and fake banking apps.
Malicious actors leverage Trojan as a vector that enables them to develop an illegitimate version of the bank’s login page, which is a perfect replica of the original login page, and overlay it on top of the legitimate app. Once the users put their credentials on this illegitimate version of the bank’s login page, the Trojan steals the login credentials. In most cases, the users do not know that malicious actors have compromised their sensitive personal data.
The third industry that is one of the primary targets of cybercriminals is the healthcare sector, which is a growing concern. A recent report by IBM titled “Cost of a data breach 2022” suggests the average data breach cost in the healthcare industry is about USD 10.10 Million. One of the main reasons this industry is a primary target of cybercriminals is that it is information-intensive.
Organizations in the healthcare sector are a frequent target as it stores sensitive personal data of the population. Healthcare and medical institutions gather, store and access Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR), which have large amounts of personal information and financial details. There are various compliance standards set across the healthcare industry that aims to detect any exploitable vulnerabilities. Moreover, organizations must secure customer data to adhere to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance and secure electronically protected health information (ePHI).
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Denial of service, malicious code, and ransomed data are growing cybersecurity threats in the healthcare industry. Cybercriminals leverage ransomware as a vector to block the workforce or organizations from accessing their data or a denial of service until they pay the ransom. Such attacks are a primary concern for the healthcare industry because they can potentially disrupt processes and risk the patient’s health and safety. Moreover, since the start of the recent pandemic, there has been a surge in the number of cyber-attacks in the healthcare industry.
The same report by IBM highlights that the healthcare industry’s cost of a data breach has risen approximately 42% since 2020. Institutions in the healthcare sector need to have the best cybersecurity posture and tech stack that helps them to keep the sensitive information of the customers secure and avoid any legal litigations
Healthcare, Banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector and manufacturing are the three industries that are prime targets of cyber criminals to accomplish their malicious intent. Businesses in these sectors must be vigilant while securing their organization against sophisticated threats and risks.
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