In light of recent catastrophes, cyber security is a hot topic and each day the industry grows larger and more dramatic. The latest statistics show that there has been an astronomical growth in the amount of malware being launched — up to 230,000 samples every day. While cybercrimes many times target celebrities, banks, and corporations, individual users are also victims of hackers. The information security landscape is constantly changing, but here are a few cyber security facts that need to be seen to be believed.
Costly Computer Viruses
There have been multiple viruses such as ILOVEYOU, Conficker, and Code Red that have each amassed damage costs of a few billion dollars. Even more widespread and self-replicating was SoBig. This worm and Trojan camouflaged itself as something other than malware, spread via spam emails, and resulted in $37 billion in damages. Topping the list, MyDoom was unearthed in 2004 and led to over $38 billion in damages. The virus targeted the Microsoft Windows Operating System, infected an estimated 25% of all emails, and is considered the most damaging computer virus to date.
Exploit Kits and Software Vulnerabilities
Did you know that a hacker can obtain full access of your computer with a single click on an infected advertising banner? The vulnerabilities are linked to software such as Adobe Reader, Mozilla Firefox, or Oracle Java, meaning that since the majority of computers have these programs, the majority of computers are vulnerable to exploit kits. In 2006, MPack was released by Russian software crackers and infected up to 160,000 PCs, including those of the Bank of India, with keylogging software.
In terms of information security, social engineering is the psychological manipulation of people that leads to individuals divulging confidential information or performing desired actions. One of the most common cyber threats, this is a confidence trick with an intention of gathering information, committing fraud, or obtaining system access. Spear phishing, or sending emails from a trusted sender in order to obtain confidential information (bank account information, credit card numbers, passwords, etc.), is the most common type of social engineering, accounting for more than 91% of attacks.
Frequency of Cyber Attacks
Cyber-attacks may be more common and happen more frequently than you think. There are over 4,000 ransomware attacks every single day and an increasing number of businesses being targeted. The United States has been the recipient of most cyber-attacks and in just one year, actions by cyber criminals led to over $100 million worth of damage to the U.S Department of Défense. Some U.S. departments get more than one hundred cyber-attacks every hour.
Unfortunately, many cyber-attacks leave both organizations and individuals suffering financially. It is taking an increasingly long time to resolve cyber-attacks, taking almost six months to detect malicious attacks. U.S. organizations have been forced to pay over $12 million in annual damages, and almost 70% of those funds were not able to be recovered.
There are currently 27 individuals on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. They are from all over the world, many are considered international flight risks, and all have been indicted for multiple, and serious, crimes. Consumer losses of up to $100 million have been attributed to a few of the criminals.
Social Media Risk
Hackers love the ease of attacking people by using social media. There are almost 2 billion social network users worldwide, with an expected 2.95 billion users by 2020. With almost two-thirds of internet users access social media services, this opens up many opportunities for cyber attackers. From phishing to like-jacking to social spam in the form of fake friends or reviews, one in ten social media users report that they have been the recipient of a cyber-attack — contributing to an estimated 600,000 Facebook accounts that are compromised every day.
Government Cyber Attackers
It is hard to believe, but governments around the world actually make internet users more vulnerable to attacks. Many governments are constantly creating malware to use in espionage or as digital weapons. For instance, the United States government has recently been discovered to be controversially using ‘zero days,’ a potent software bug. When governments discover and develop malware, it unfortunately accelerates the process for criminals.
Cybercrime damages are expected to reach an astonishing $6 trillion by 2021. With malware and related methods constantly evolving, it puts governments, businesses, and individuals at risk for cyber-attacks. Constantly in the news, cyber criminals have already done a lot of damage, hurting individuals financially and socially, and have largely become unstoppable. Be prepared to see more interesting cyber security facts in the coming years.
Joanna Sommer is the Senior Editor for InformedMag and is passionate about security and tech. She has been working in the home safety and security field for 5 years. Joanna loves to travel and enjoys going to hot yoga and Barre classes. She is dedicated to creating articles that both educate and help people make an informed purchasing decision.