By DeVry University
In order to protect themselves from cybercrime, organizations must remain diligent - or suffer the consequences. Read on to learn about the history of cyber attacks and the impact a breach caused by a cyber hack or malware can have.
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The State of Cybercrime
Cybercrime is serious business—and it takes a toll on companies large and small. It's an attempt to gain illegal access to a computer or computer system for the purpose of causing damage or harm.
To understand the immense impact of cyber attacks, take a look at these statistics:
- 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses.
- Hackers attack a computer with internet access every 11 seconds.
- Average cost of a corporate breach is $116 million.
While cyber crimes are often grouped together, it’s important to realize there are many different types of attacks – and companies must be prepared to protect themselves from each. Here are some of the more common types of cyber attacks:
- Malware: Malicious software such as spyware, ransomware, viruses and worms that breaches a network, typically after the user clicks a link or email attachment.
- Phishing: The act of sending fraudulent communications, usually via email, with the goal of stealing sensitive data or installing malware.
- Man-in-the-Middle Attack: Commonly known as eavesdropping attacks, attackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction in order to steal data.
- Denial-of-Service Attack: Flooding systems, servers or networks with traffic to exhaust bandwidth, rendering it unable to fulfill legitimate requests.
- SQL Injection: Malicious code is inserted into a server that uses SQL, such as a website search box, forcing it to reveal hidden information.
- Zero-Day Exploit: This targets a known network vulnerability before the company has had time to implement a solution.
Spotlight: The First Major Cyber Attack
Cyber crimes have been around longer than you might think. In fact, the first major attack, known as the Morris Worm, took place in 1988. Here’s how it went down:
- What happened? A cyber worm—malware that propagates on its own without the need for a software host—was deployed by 23-year-old graduate student Robert Tappan Morris. While it did not destroy data, the worm delayed critical military and university communications and functions for several days.
- The target: Public and private research centers and prestigious colleges such as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Johns Hopkins and NASA.
- The outcome: While the hacker claimed it was an experiment gone wrong, evidence uncovered by the FBI suggested otherwise. Morris was indicted in 1989.
- Estimated impact: $100,000–$1M+
Cyber Security is a Constant Battle
Organizations today employ teams of IT and cyber security professionals to help them safeguard their systems. But even the smallest efforts can make a difference. Here are some basic tips to help prevent cyber attacks in your organization:
- Use two-way authentication for logging in
- Create a security plan
- Encrypt and back up data
- Consider cyber insurance
- Set up a firewall
- Stay educated
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