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February 16, 2017

Cybersecurity Lapse Costs Yahoo $250 Million!

We often discuss here the extremely high costs of cybersecurity breaches – we broke the news of ransomware being a billion dollar industry and we expect it to hit $2 billion fairly soon. This form of cyber-extortion – is easy to quantify. A hacker takes over your data, encrypts it and holds it ransom. You pay the ransom to get it back. It’s cut and dry. Of course the U.S. government has warned against sending money to such attackers and we warned that you could be funding ISIS without your knowledge by making such payments.

Still, people who are unprepared decide they should go ahead and pay anyway. In a recent study from IBM, 46 percent of business respondents claimed that their organization had experienced a ransomware attack. And of the 46 percent that were impacted by ransomware, an overwhelming 70% admitted to paying the ransom.

Just how much are businesses paying in ransomware attacks? This will shock you:

  • 20 percent have paid more than $40,000
  • 25 percent have paid between $20,000 and $40,000
  • 11 percent have paid between $10,000 and $20,000

Other types of crimes cost a company in a different way. When credit card data is stolen – it could cost hundreds of millions of dollars… Just ask Target. When user account information is stolen it could also cost this much… Ask Yahoo! who just saw the value of their company reduced by a quarter-of-a-billion dollars because they failed to protect their user data from hackers!

Bottom line: it is never too early to assess your cybersecurity position and take precautions like ensuring backups are being done, kept offsite via the cloud, your staff is regularly trained, your technology is up to date, you have had penetration testing done, etc.

Even if you trust your current IT provider or in-house staff – it is best to get a second opinion from other experts. The other option is to wait until your data is taken hostage or stolen and your business is jeopardized as a result.

You may look at large financial damage numbers that Yahoo has to deal with and think – your company is much smaller, you don’t need to worry about it as much. The reality is however that if you are a million dollar company and the damage is a few hundred thousand dollars, it could be enough to force you to close down.

Oftentimes the protection against such damage could be an additional few thousand dollars a month. Obviously, every situation is different but you can never be too secure and every business is worth protecting from the army of cyberattackers. Even worse are the nation-states that even Microsoft with its tremendous resources says we aren’t prepared to fight. Don’t be a victim – plan ahead – before it is too late.

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