No matter how impervious to threats an organization believes itself to be, hackers are often faster, more up-to-date on technologies and always ready to exploit security flaws. Attacks are not a matter of if; they are a matter of when. Companies deal with breaches every single day, many of which do not make the news as they do not affect consumers. This can lull managers into a false sense of security, and when that influences business decisions, it inadvertently leaves organizations more vulnerable to attack.
Here are some of the most dangerous, albeit prevalent, myths about cyber-security today:
"The majority of hackers operate alone on a single terminal"
Today’s threats are often coordinated, sophisticated attacks carried out by crime rings, terrorist organizations and even other countries. It was reported that Iran accessed secure US Navy data over a period of four months. Criminals will go to every length possible to obtain information either to sell or for their own nefarious purposes because it's their job.
"The impact of cyber crime is insignificant"
This is an outdated belief. The financial impact of cyber security breaches has increased by a whopping 300% last year since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Data breaches cost enterprises an average of $3.92 million. The cost includes damage to reputation, spying from global competitors and data theft. Another important side note is that 88% of organizations worldwide experienced spear phishing attempts in just 2019 alone.
"Criminals only target big corporations"
Many small and medium-sized businesses have not allocated the resources to protecting their data. Coupled with a belief that they are not worth the time for a criminal to bother with, they make for a prime target. Their guard is down. So the organization may be small, but almost any business has enough data to entice a criminal who is looking for an easy payday.
"The government protects us"
The government has recently released a voluntary cyber security framework, developed by security experts, but this is the extent of their coordinated efforts to protect corporations from cyber-attacks. It is presently fully incumbent upon the company to protect their data at all costs, especially if your organization handles HIPAA-protected information.
"We have a large enough IT staff"
More than half of US businesses do not have an adequately-staffed IT department to protect themselves against an inevitable attack, despite their beliefs to the contrary. More than half of these under-protected businesses have experienced a data breach because they were under-staffed or did not have network security specialists on board. Compounding this matter is that the demand for IT security professionals is high and the supply is low. With an unemployment rate of zero, the network security specialists can command a high salary, which means staffing budgets don’t go as far.
At the present moment, the internet is still a virtual Wild West with outlaws running rampant and not enough law enforcement to stop them. It is up to each company to protect their assets by understanding the real nature of these threats, beefing up network security, not letting their guard down and not waiting for the Calvary.
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