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Cyber risk: A growing threat for your business

February 11, 2020

Whether your business is large or small, you are at risk of a cyber attack. Help protect your business by understanding the most common types of cyber attacks.

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Damaging cyber attacks are not a matter of “if,” but “when.” Successful cyber attacks can lead to network shutdowns that may have a costly and potentially devastating effect on your organization. Understanding the potential cyber risk exposure for your organization and conducting ongoing network security monitoring can help limit your exposure to this growing threat.

What is cyber risk?

Cyber risk involves unauthorized breaches of security by bad actors to gain access to your company’s information and systems. A cyber breach can cause financial loss, business interruption and reputational damage for your firm.

Costs of cybercrime

  • Over 53% of cyber attacks result in average damages of more than $500,000.
  • $3.92 million – Average cost of a data breach in 2019
  • $6 trillion (up from $3 trillion) – Estimated cost of cybercrime globally by 2021

Biggest cyber threats to companies

Malware – infiltrating your computer system in many ways

Malware, short for malicious software, is any software designed to cause damage to computers and networks. Malware is the general term used to cover a variety of threats to your computer system.

  • 92% of malware attacks enter via emails.
  • 1 out of 50 emails contain malicious content.

Phishing emails – Don’t get hooked

Phishing is the term used to describe the fraudulent practice of sending emails that purport to be from a reputable source. It is a hacking technique that uses email and fake websites to trick recipients into providing information or downloading malware. Within an organization, the likeliest phishing attempts target employee email addresses.

  • 91% of cyber attacks start with phishing emails.
  • 86% of total phishing attacks target the U.S.

Data breaches – A flood of data leaks

A data breach occurs when information is stolen from a system without the knowledge or authorization from the system’s owner. Types of information obtained through a data breach may include intellectual property and trade secrets, confidential corporate information, personal health files and other personally identifiable information.

  • 1.76 billion users had personal and sensitive data compromised and leaked in one month alone in 2019.

Ransomware – What’s the cost?

Ransomware is a form of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their systems. Typical ransomware encrypts the victim’s computer files. A ransom is demanded to decrypt the files.

  • Every 14 seconds a ransomware attack occurs, and that likely will increase to every 11 seconds by 2021.
  • 45% of all companies hit by ransomware pay the demanded amount.
  • 17.5% of all infected companies paid the ransom and still lost their data.
  • 44.4% didn’t pay the ransom, but still managed to recover the data.

Types of malware attacks

  • Viruses – Computer programs that, when executed, replicate themselves by modifying computer programs and inserting their own code.
  • Trojans – Destructive programs that masquerade as benign applications; when you open these files, they infect the computer system.
  • Rootkits – Clandestine computer programs that provide access to a computer while hiding its presence.
  • Worms – Standalone malware computer programs that replicate and, often using a computer network, spread.
  • Spyware – This software simply spies on your computer, capturing web browsing, email content, usernames and passwords, and other confidential information. Spyware can enter your computer through an email attachment containing the malicious software.
  • Crimeware – A computer program designed to facilitate illegal activity online. Simply stated, it is a type of software developed to create crimes via the internet.
  • Adware – A form of malware that displays unwanted ads on a computer, sometimes shown as pop-ups or a window the user can’t close.

Whether your business is big or small, you can help reduce its cyber risk.

  • Understand the nature or magnitude of cyber risk within your organization.
  • Conduct ongoing network security monitoring – 56% of breaches may take months or longer to discover.
  • Build a cyber strategy to create awareness and help protect your organization from the costly impact of cyber attacks.

For more information on how to help protect your business, go to