The term cyber threat has acquired a sort of mythic proportionality — It’s now used to encapsulate every sort of attack, breach, and other sorts of malicious disruptions of a system. There is no such thing as just ONE cyber threat. It’s an umbrella term that seems to shadow any sort of intentional damaging act of a digital nature that has the potential to wreak havoc on our platform and business. The top cybersecurity threats right now doing the rounds and costing the world millions are data breaches, DoS (Denial Of Service) Attacks, computer viruses, Phishing, and Malware.
The Cost Of Cyber Threats To Online Business
According to the FBI’s report – a profile the agency updates annually – the cost of cybercrime in 2019, in the US alone, was $3.5 Billion. And here’s something that the Federal agency has made a point of clarifying, that tally is but a snippet of the actual number.
Why? Most companies that have faced intrusion or have been exploited fail to either recognize the attack or refuse to contact the authority. The cost of cybercrime, a damaging intrusion in their system, is a PR nightmare that would ultimately destroy consumer confidence in a company, land them on the front news, and ultimately hurt their stock price — and their shareholders.
Most try to simply fix the problem in-house if possible and keep it under wraps, instead of avoiding threats.
Nonetheless, by the year 2021, globally, the inflicted damages of cybercrime are estimated to reach over $16 trillion. If we were to measure it as a country, cybercrime by that year’s end would be the third-largest economy after the U.S. and China. Annually it is expected to grow by 15%.
Why Does Cybercrime Have Such A High Economic Impact?
It is a low-risk crime that can, in all actuality, deliver a huge payoff. Why low-risk? Because plenty of cybercriminals live and operate in countries with little to no jurisdiction over the digital market. Or countries whose regional government promotes the activity. And, even those that don’t have the blanket amnesty of their elected officials, are savvy enough to know how to operate in the dark and hide their steps.
Famous Case Studies Of Companies That Failed To Manage Their Cybersecurity
NASA – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration – the very same one that conquered the moon and is at the forefront of technology and space research was breached in 1999. For over 21 days, its computer network was at a standstill. A hack managed to shut down all its operations. And, what was even more damning was that over 1.7 million dollars worth of proprietary software was downloaded during the attack.
The breach ended up costing the space giant a total of $41,000 in repairs — and thanks to the FBI’s diligence and that of other agencies, most of the sensitive information was recovered.
The culprit? 15-year-old James Jonathan, with a laptop computer, using a dial-tone modem right out of his parent’s house.
In April 2007, the country of Estonia went into a free-fall. A cyber breach managed to infiltrate their less than robust mainframes and platforms. Over 58 official websites, all full of information, top-secret data, and sensitive intel, were hit. For days they went offline — during which time the intruders managed to hijack terabytes worth of juicy information. These included government sites, banks, financial institutions, and media outlets.
To this day, what the hackers absconded with is still a mystery. Another mystery is the massive economical damage the attack inflicted on the country’s coffers.
One of the most famous breaches in history, one of the biggest cyber-threats to an online business, occurred in April 2011. Sony had failed to update a patch within their PlayStation firmware. This small digital rabbit hole allowed cyber-criminals to access their “secure” databases.
The hackers managed to funnel out the sensitive and personal information of 77 million Sony PlayStation users. The company lost millions in out of court settlements, and stock price decreased due to public backlash.
What was initially a small breach – according to an ADOBE spokesman – of 2.9 million users, ended up being a gigantic PR nightmare for the tech giant. Why? It turned out that the breach had compromised the personal data of over 39 million users. Not 2.9. And, to make matters worse, those initial 2.9 million had not only found their passwords and IDs stolen, but their credit card information copied and disseminated.
One of the earliest and worst cyber threats occurred in 1999 when the Melissa Virus was unleashed by programmer David Lee Smith. It was a user file, sent through email, that could be opened as a Microsoft Word Document. The virus obliterated files and hard drives, destroying the way many companies operated.
One of the worst hits was, ironically, Microsoft. Bill Gates’ company had to spend over 80 million dollars in repairs.
Why It’s Important To Manage Cybersecurity
From the 2014 Yahoo cyberattack to the hack that left Ukraine without power for hours in 2015, cybercrime is incredibly damaging. Whether you’re the Marriott Hotel chain, that in 2018 noticed that more than 339 million guest data had been stolen from their platform or the owner of a small business with an e-commerce presence, it’s important to have a diligent Security platform for guarding your data, and that of your customers —- from cybersecurity service provider to first response.
On average, each breach might end up costing a company between 1 to 1.5 million dollars in repairs, settlements, and stock losses.
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