10 alarming cybersecurity facts

Credit: Michael Borgers | Dreamstime.com

Here are ten things you need to know about modern cyber-security threats.

There are 41 cyber criminals on the FBI’s Most Wanted list as of 2016

In 2016, there were 19 individuals on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for cyber criminals. Each of them was responsible for consumer losses ranging from $350,000 to more than $100 million. In 2018, that same list has 41 cyber criminals from around the world.

The most expensive computer virus of all time cost $38.5 billion

MyDoom is considered to be the most expensive virus in the world, having caused an estimated financial damage of $38.5 billion. MyDoom was first spotted in 2004 and it became the fastest spreading email worm, exceeding all previous records. It was believed to have originated in Russia but its author was never discovered.

Social Media is a hackers favourite target

Currently there are more than 3 billion active social network users worldwide. Users that spend a lot of time on social networks are likely to click links posted by trusted friends, which hackers use to their advantage. For example, like-jacking occurs when criminals post fake “like” buttons to a website that when clicked, downloads a malware onto the victims computer.

99% of computers are vulnerable to exploit kits

Oracle Java, Adobe Reader or Adobe Flash are present on 99% of computers. This means that 99% of computer users are vulnerable to exploit kits. The vulnerabilities that these types of software present are critical; all it takes is one click on an infected advertising banner to give a hacker full access to your computer. Adobe Flash has a huge number of vulnerabilities, so cyber criminals target it in the majority of their attacks.

59% of employees steal proprietary corporate data when they quit or are fired

A shocking 59% of employees steal proprietary corporate data when they quit or are fired. There are also malicious insiders who have the potential to cause significant damage because of their level of access. Exploited insiders may be tricked by external parties into providing data or passwords they shouldn’t, and careless insiders may simply press the wrong key and accidentally delete or modify critical information.

Credit: Mott Jordan | Dreamstime.com

Social engineering is a cyber criminals favourite way to manipulate victims

People are the weakest link when it comes to cyber security, which is why psychological manipulation of cyber attack victims is so common. Social engineering is the psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. This is used to gather information, fraud, or system access.

Your government is making you more vulnerable

Governments around the world are creating malware and using it as digital weapons or in espionage programs. In the past 5 years, more than a handful of government malware have been discovered but their origins have yet to receive full attribution. The worst of those was the leaked NSA exploit EternalBlue which lead to the spread of WannaCry.

There is a real time map that shows cyber attacks in action

The US is one of the favourite targets for cyber criminals. Chinese attackers alone caused more than $100 million worth of damage to US department of Defence networks according to leaked documents from Edward Snowden.

You can visit the map here

Hacktivism is the main motivation that drives cyber attacks

Hacktivism accounts for half of the cyber attacks launched in the world. The term represents a subversive use of computers and computer networks to promote political agenda. With roots in hacker culture and hacker ethics, its ends are often related to free speech, human rights, or freedom of information. Hacktivists use code, website mirroring, geo-bombing and anonymous blogging to achieve their objectives

68% of funds lost as a result of a cyber attack were declared unrecoverable

It is becoming increasingly difficult to detect cyber attacks and resolve the security issues created by them: the average time to detect a malicious or criminal attack was 170 days. According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, the average annual cost of cyber crime was $12.7 million. This represents a 96% increase since the study was initiated 5 years ago. The past 5 years has also seen a 176% increase in the number of cyber attacks, with an average of 138 successful attacks per week.

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