Over the last number of years, we’ve heard of numerous high-profile data breaches or hacks. Most recently, ransomware attacks seem to capture headlines far too regularly. While there are a number of other cyber attacks used against organizations, the overall goals are often the same: cause harm and make money.
With all of us in business to some form or another, It would only be natural to wonder which industries find themselves to be the targets of criminals most frequently.
While the data sets can be difficult to compile due to the variety of cyber attacks (ransomware and data breaches tending to be the highest-profile ones reported), pulling from several sources, here are some of the top industries targeted by cyber criminals along with several high-profile incidents:
Industries Most Targeted by Cyber Attacks
Criminals want to be where the money is. Financial institutions not only hold the money, but personal information and links to other accounts and data. In one of the largest data breach scandals we’ve seen, the 2017 Equifax hack exposed the personal and financial information of an estimated 143 million people.
You might think that criminals are conducting a virtual bank heist and just taking the money (like in the movie Office Space), but it’s often either a data breach or a system attack that would prevent institutions from conducting transactions which, if they’re not able to do, would shutter their businesses.
Similar to financial institutions, entities in the healthcare space keep in-depth records with client’s personal information. Due to the handling of significant sensitive information, the industry is heavily regulated as it pertains to privacy and security (see our post on healthcare compliance). A major story of note was the 2015 hack of Anthem, the 2nd largest health insurer in America.
In September 2022, Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest district in the country, suffered a ransomware attack that locked out district staff for several days and, it appears, data was stolen as well.
In a recent article from marketplace.org, they explain why schools and students are of high value to hacking groups: “Identity thieves are partial to students’ data because, among other things, young people have no credit history, so stealing their personal information and using it to open up a new credit card is easier to do.”
With regards to a system shut down, districts are unable to communicate and get work done, among other areas that cause damage to operations Read more about cyber security for schools.
When public systems are shut down, it’s not just a company that suffers, but society suffers. In May of 2021, the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack caused the company to shut down their systems, which stopped the largest supplier of fuel in the Eastern US from getting product to stations and customers. Upon receiving that news, panic set in across the region that had people trying to fill up as fast as they could (…some with drastic measures in trying to put gasoline into plastic bags).
Beyond pipeline shutdowns, disruptions to services, supplies, or transportation can cause major issues for those depending on them.
As mentioned in our previous poston IT for small businesses, while you might not think that small businesses are on the radar of cyber criminals due to their lower profile or smaller bank accounts, Inc. Magazine reports that nearly half of all cyber attacks are actually focused on small businesses. In the article, two of the reasons seem to stick out most: Small businesses often lack adequate cyber defenses and it is easier for criminals to get away with it.
How Diamond IT Can Help
This isn’t meant to scare you, but rather to raise awareness of the very real threats that exist. It is regularly reported that most C-level officers or IT Directors do not feel that their organization is doing enough as it pertains to cyber security. Diamond IT can help with that.
We specialize in cyber security, Managed and Co-Managed Services, and vCISO offerings (to name a few) to make sure you’re covered. In today’s cyberthreat landscape, it helps to have a partner on your side who knows what to look out for and how to best serve you.
Contact us to start the conversation of how we can partner on your security.