Cybersecurity – how to take care of your data in 2021?
April 7, 2021
A need for understanding the concept of cybersecurity is growing along with digital dependency. Defence against increasingly sophisticated hacker tactics is, in addition to protecting the confidentiality of business and customer data, a critical issue of the modern world. This dangerous combination of risks forces companies to effectively minimise them and make the best security practices part of their business culture.
Business and customer data breaches that expose confidential information and make users vulnerable to identity theft ruin a company’s reputation. What’s even worse, they almost always result in the company suffering moral and financial consequences.
Table of Contents:
What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity encompasses the technologies, practices and processes designed to protect systems, information networks and their software and other digital assets. It refers to any active or passive measures taken to secure them against any internal or external cyber attacks or breaches.
It is a global problem that, regardless of industry, forces the digital environment to apply adequate security practices consistently. They are designed to protect against attacks themselves as well as against damage or access to confidential content by unauthorised users. A lack of proper practice may otherwise:
- significantly disrupt business operations;
- lead to loss of customer confidence in a company;
- result in substantial fines or legal action.
Side effects of the pandemic
The year 2020 turned life upside down and completely changed the way the workforce operates around the world. Practically overnight, there has been a shift to remote work. It has embraced cloud services and operations beyond cloud platforms, opening the door to more cyber attacks.
Additionally, the introduction of 5G has made devices connected even tighter , and the increased bandwidth has made IoT device systems more vulnerable to breaches. Nowadays, remote workers are the target of cybercriminals more often than ever.
Types of cyberattacks
The growing number of identified cyberattacks suggests that not only their scale but also their severity is increasing. Therefore, it is essential to have an in-depth understanding of both: cybersecurity itself and the types of attacks and their origin. Here are the most common ones:
1. Malicious software
It is a collection of software variants such as viruses, ransomware and spyware. These harm business systems and networks by using them to destroy databases and internal resources, causing irreparable damage to companies’ business infrastructure. Ransomware blocks access to a computer system or makes it impossible to read data stored in it and then demands a ransom from the victim to restore it to its original state.
It is a network of infected computer systems that perform countless automated tasks without the device owners’ consent or knowledge. Attackers use these subsystems’ computer resources to carry out large-scale attacks etc., while remaining completely anonymous.
3. Social engineering
Social engineering campaigns are a form of attack that spreads via phishing emails and other forms of communication designed to look harmless but are actually used to forward information to malicious sources; their sole purpose is to extract sensitive business information such as login details, employee details and banking details.
4. Spear phishing
Phishing social engineering attacks can be associated with simple emails with careless graphics and grammar errors – relatively ineffective already. Therefore, they were replaced by spear-phishing attacks, i.e. (more) carefully crafted email attacks, in which they got acquainted with the victim’s demographic target. Attacks of this type are personalised, referring to events in a company, business partners or services a company may use.
5. CEO Fraud
It is a personalised social engineering attack, during which a hacker pretends to be a decision-maker, usually via email. As a rule, it is meticulously prepared: it collects and correlates data from many sources, uses a fake email address (email spoofing), and a corporate footer. For example, from a company’s blog, hackers get information about new projects, clients and events; then, they coherently refer to the company’s affairs while maintaining the right tone.
6. Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)
It is a widely used, highly effective and financially devastating form of a data breach that is difficult to detect, let alone recover from. Using stealthy and sophisticated tactics, hackers gain unauthorised access to a network or a system and can remain undetected for months or years.
7. SQL injection
The Structured Query Language, thanks to which the database structures are created, also uses cybercrime. SQL injection into sites or insecure browsers allows attackers to manipulate queries that the application sends to the connected database; thus, they view and edit the source code and also access data on the servers.
8. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack
A so-called “denial of service” happens when a hacker floods the server or network with traffic and exhausts the resources necessary to maintain its functionality. It often leads to a complete disruption of connected systems, causing large-scale downtime and severe financial consequences.
Security protection against cyber attacks
In planning cybersecurity and supporting companies in limiting, deterring an impact and incidents of cybercrime and building an effective cybersecurity programme, the following functions are used:
Identification provides the initial step needed to implement the principles of protecting both physical and digital business assets. It helps organisations in developing and understanding cybersecurity risks when assessing their business systems and networks.
Protection includes asset protection through Identity and Access Management (IAM), database security technologies, staff training and other safeguards measures to ensure critical infrastructure services delivery.
Detection includes recognition of anomalies or events in the system and networks as they occur, then it verifies the effectiveness of protective measures applied in response to these actions.
Response includes management of communications with security teams, stakeholders and law enforcement during and after the incident, while conducting the analysis, mitigation actions and driving technologies needed to resolve issues; it is also a key element in detecting potentially devastating attacks.
Restoration includes activities necessary to restore any capabilities or services; it includes implementing recovery planning processes, training procedures and teams, and improving processes based on lessons learned from events and recovery initiatives.
As of 2019, the global average cost of a data breach has increased by 12% in the past five years to $ 3.92 million. These undue damages include infrastructure repair costs, disaster recovery execution, and internal resource expenditure but are mainly related to long-term damage to customer and partner relationships. (from IBM soures)
Cybersecurity in statistics
According to Accenture data, the global number of cyber attacks has increased by 11% since 2018 and by as much as 67% since 2014. As reported by Proofpoint, 88% of organisations worldwide experienced spear-phishing attempts in 2019. According to CSO Online data, all types of phishing attacks account for more than 80% of indicated incidents, and IoT devices tripled in the first half of 2019.
As Cabinet data has shown, 95% of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error. Simultaneously, more and more restrictive regulations regarding data protection and information confidentiality appear in the world, such as the GDPR (pol. RODO) in the European Union or the CCPA in the USA. As they are introduced, more and more severe penalties are enforced in this regard.
The global number of cyber attacks has increased by 11% since 2018 and by 67% since 2014
Cyber attacks from 2020
According to Verizon, the data breach revealed a total of 36 billion records in the first half of 2020, of which:
- 86% were financially motivated, 10% – espionage, 45% – hacking;
- 17% resulted from malware attacks and 22% from phishing;
- personal data was involved in 58% of the breaches;
- an average cost of a data breach is $ 3.86 million (IBM);
- average time to detect a violation – 207 days (IBM);
- an average intrusion life cycle was 280 days from identification to security (IBM);
- 68% of world business leaders believe that cybersecurity risk is growing successively and exposes their business to losses (Accenture);
- cybersecurity services accounted for approximately 50% of enterprise budgets (Gartner).
Cyber attacks in the US
The United States has the highest costs of a data breach globally, with an average of $ 8.64 million, followed by the Middle East – $ 6.52 million (IBM). And so:
- 64% of Americans have never checked whether their data has been compromised, and 56% of them do not know what steps to take in case of a breach (Varonis);
- in 2020, a Twitter hack targeted 130 accounts, including former presidents and Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla, PayPal), causing attackers to extort $ 121,000 in Bitcoin through nearly 300 transactions (CNBC);
- $ 17,700 is lost every minute due to a phishing attacks (CSO Online);
- 1.2 billion records were breached as a result of attacks on government institutions in 2018 (Purplesec);
- in 2021, the US government allocated approximately $ 18.78 billion to cybersecurity (Atlas VPN).
The United States has the highest costs of a data breach globally, with an average of $ 8.64 million
Cybersecurity – trends and forecasts
As Gartner indicated, the global information security market is forecast to reach $ 170.4 billion in 2022. It is primarily due to the organisation’s evolution in terms of protection against cyber threats and the growth of such threats, including in their own companies. Other figures say that:
- by 2021, global cybercrime costs will reach $ 6 trillion per year;
- the cost of the damage caused by ransomware attacks in 2021 will rise to $ 20 billion, and companies will be subjected to it every 11 seconds (Cybersecurity Ventures);
- 70% of security directors believe their budgets for fiscal 2021 will shrink (Mckinsey);
- by 2023, the total number of DDoS attacks worldwide will reach $ 15.4 million (Cisco);
- by 2025, cybercrime-related damage will reach $ 10.5 trillion per year.
Modern threat modelling infrastructures
Cybersecurity statistics and forecasts for 2021 reveal a massive increase in data breaches as a side effect of the global pandemic. They are becoming increasingly common in the workplace and involve mobile and IoT devices.
In 2021, as software controls more and more spheres of life, developers face the challenge of effectively modelling threats. Artificial intelligence and machine learning-based tools enable the fight against cybercrime in this case. Dedicated DevSecOps teams help companies limit the number of vulnerabilities in remote work environments. They use AI on an increasing scale to automatically create a secure infrastructure. And moving to the cloud means companies need to learn new security skills and consider new processes for creating and modelling threats.
More and more cloud-based tools are emerging – such as threat analysis platforms, firewall management, unified threat monitoring and response and endpoint security management.
Cybersecurity in time tracking apps
The widespread need for cybersecurity in all business aspects means that, like many companies, we’re also looking for top-notch security systems. Stealing confidential business information, employee credentials, or bank passwords exposes you to theft of your ideas, identity and damages a company’s reputation.
In TimesheetKiller time tracking app no information is sent from a user’s computer to external servers
TimesheetKiller AI-based software is one of the applications that perfectly protects privacy and keeps your data safe. First of all, because no information is sent from a given computer to external servers, the application does not require a network connection. The users has complete control over the way the application works – they can control projects and tasks in real-time, and if necessary, block the monitoring and registration of programs or domains at any time.
Preventive actions in the field of consistent cybersecurity worldwide are intensifying, and the budget for them is growing. That is due to more and more decision-makers and managers realising the value and importance of investing in this area. For companies that have not recognised the seriousness of the problem and have not made cybersecurity a part of their business culture, the costs associated with cybersecurity attacks can paralyse their work and determine the “to be or not to be” of their business and associated workforce.