Exclusively written for drooms.com by Jarmila Brier
Businesses are becoming increasingly dependent on technology. With high tech solutions streamlining processes and improving efficiency, it’s hard to imagine a time when people did everything manually. Of course, today’s tech-based operations come with their own security risks. Most technology and IT solutions gather valuable data to function, and if this information is not properly protected, these providers and the businesses they cater to all become vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Collectively, cyber attacks cost $45 billion (£36 billion) in 2018. IT service providers understand better than most the high cost that comes with data protection, but no one can deny that it is something that should be prioritised. For those in the IT industry, it’s important to understand that hackers tend to target certain industries due to their vulnerability, which consequently need higher levels of cybersecurity. Therefore, service providers accommodating end users from the following sectors might need to reinforce the current levels of cyber protection incorporated in their IT solutions:
1. Financial Services
One of the more common reasons for cyber attacks is money extortion. With that in mind, there’s no better sector to target than the financial services industry through bank fraud. Earlier this year, the Telegraph reported that Metro Bank was the first major bank to be victimised by a new form of cyberattack. This new type of attack targeted codes sent to mobile phones via text messages in order to verify transactions. The two-factor identification scheme adopted by most banks was made to provide an additional level of security for individuals making online bank transactions. For cyber criminals to intercept these security measures is an alarming and shows how complex hacks have become.
Today’s logistics companies rely heavily on IoT technology to create a connected fleet that can provide quicker and more efficient services. A feature on the digital transformation of businesses by Verizon Connect discusses how cloud-based mobile resource management is now used by operations managers for real-time coordination with field-based workers and assets. This makes logistics companies more efficient by connecting all parts of the business no matter where they are. While cloud-based and IoT technologies have streamlined the delivery processes they have also increased their vulnerability to cyberattacks. Hackers can now potentially gain access to a vehicle’s navigation system or a shipping manifesto and disrupt the delivery service. With more fleet companies around the world using IoT technology, this gives hackers more backdoor entrances into a logistic company’s system, and increases the chances of disruption.
Health organisations hold massive amounts of sensitive patient data that they cannot afford to lose. With technology now being used to track, manage, and improve patient outcomes, the vectors of attack are increasing, too. Cyber criminals can obtain information that is valuable on the black market, like national insurance numbers. An example of a high profile case was when the NHS was hit by a cyber attack in 2017 that forced doctors to cancel thousands of appointments. It was a simple attack that caused a significant amount of disruption. With such poor protection it’s no wonder, then, that healthcare is a prime target for ransomware and other malicious cyber attacks.
4. Government Agencies
Government agencies may be the first choice for many cyber criminals, simply because of the amount of confidential data that they store. It doesn’t help that the cybersecurity protocols in many government institutions aren’t up to date. What’s worse is that government agencies are notorious for having employees ill-equipped in spotting cyber threats like phishing scams and malicious emails, as well as maintaining personal data hygiene.
Energy and utility firms, especially nuclear power companies, contain critical data that hackers may be interested in. Hackers also commonly target energy and utility firms because they can cause widespread physical damage in a single blow because they can disrupt energy grids. For instance, Wired Magazine explains how something as benign as a single water heater can be exploited to trigger a mass blackout across hundreds of homes. As it turns out, hackers can manipulate a botnet imbalance that causes a current overload. They turn to this sector if they aim to damage a particular city.
Ivan Seifert reminds IT service providers to make security a priority and have various measures that protect data from unwanted modification processing or loss. Companies must be aware of how threats can come from anywhere to target a wide array of institutions, especially in the areas that people least expect. By incorporating formidable cybersecurity measures and encryption as part and parcel of your IT solutions, you can work to create a safer space for your client’s business, data, and customers.