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May 19, 2016

These Five Industries Are Most at Risk for Cyberattacks

Cybercrime has emerged as one of the biggest security threats impacting businesses today. But which industries are most at risk?

A new study from IBM provides critical insight about the problem. For its study, IBM collected data from network monitoring devices spread across 100 different countries.

Here are the top five at-risk industries:

1. Healthcare: Research shows that cyberattacks against hospitals, doctors and clinics cost the U.S. healthcare industry as much as $6 billion per year. Medical records, for that matter, can sell for as much as 20 times more than credit card data, making the healthcare industry a top target for cybercrime—particularly ransomware.

2. Manufacturing: Manufacturing environments are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals in search of intellectual property and trade secrets. Manufacturing facilities are also proving to be ideal locations for embedding malware into devices and infecting large numbers of end users.  The American Dental Association, for instance, was recently involved in an incident where it unknowingly distributed infected USBs to thousands of its end users; the USB devices became infected while they were being produced in China.

3. Financial services: Ninety percent of IT security professionals in the financial services industry feel that their organizations are vulnerable to a data breach. And 44 percent have already experienced a data breach. While industry giants are now waking up to the problem and are increasingly spending on cybersecurity, concern is growing among executives that smaller financial institutions need to do more to keep their data safe.

4. Government: The 2015 hack against the U.S. Office of Personnel Management—in which  cybercriminals gained the personal information of over 21 million victims—was eye-opening, to say the least. The public sector is now just as much of a target for hackers as the private sector, so many government institutions are now looking to overhaul their data protection policies in hopes of preventing attacks from occurring.

5. Transportation: Companies in the transportation industry—particularly competitive taxi services—transmit large volumes of valuable data on a daily basis and must be vigilant about protecting it. Uber recently made headlines when the company was fined $20,000 by the New York attorney general for failing to protect the personal data of its drivers.

Even if your industry didn’t crack IBM’s list of the most-targeted areas for cyberattacks, keep in mind that every business is currently in the crosshairs. Simply put, if you are storing or transferring data of any kind—even through email—you are holding valuable information that can be useful to hackers.

It’s therefore vital that you take every security precaution possible to prevent an incident in your organization. One of the most important things you can do is instruct your employees to keep their defenses up, and be constantly on the watch for suspicious activity. You wouldn’t believe the creative lengths that today’s hackers are going to in their efforts to obtain sensitive data. Recently, for instance, here at Apex Technology Services we’ve been seeing many cases where hackers pretend to be company executives while phishing for employee information.

As computer consultants serving greater New York City and Fairfield County, Apex Technology Services offers comprehensive cybersecurity training for businesses and their employees. To learn more about this service, click here.

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