When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, internet usage increased dramatically. Simultaneously, threat actors targeting industries that rely on online services and data storage increased, resulting in a record-breaking year for cyberattacks. According to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), cyber crimes have increased 300% since the pandemic started. All companies are vulnerable to cyberattacks in today’s digital world, though some are more vulnerable given the nature of their business. Here are the six most vulnerable industries and the different cyber threats they’re up against.
Many small businesses are easy targets for threat actors because they don’t have resources for cybersecurity. According to a 2019 data breach investigation report, 43% of cyberattacks were against small businesses making them the largest group of cyberattack targets. The biggest threat facing small businesses is phishing attacks in which attackers pretend to be a trusted vendor or third party and deceive users into clicking a malicious link, downloading a malicious file, or sharing sensitive information.
The second biggest threat to small businesses is malware. Malicious software can cripple company devices and allow threat actors back door access to sensitive information, putting customers and employees at risk. Some small businesses utilize the assistance of a trusted managed service provider (MSP) to help boost their operations. At SpearTip, we assist MSPs in protecting themselves and their small business clients against costly cyberattacks.
The number of cybersecurity attacks against the healthcare sector has become a growing concern. More than 90% of all healthcare providers have experienced at least one security breach, including denial of service, malicious code, stolen data, ransomware, and more. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation worsened as cybercriminals took advantage of increased vulnerabilities. Consequently, cyberattacks have more than doubled from 2019 with almost one-third coming from ransomware attacks.
Ransomware is malicious software used by cybercriminals to prevent individuals and industries from accessing their own data or cause a denial of service until they pay the ransom. These ransomware attacks can slow critical processes and put the health and safety of patients at risk, which is concerning for healthcare providers. With SpearTip, healthcare can leverage effective and purpose-built solutions to defend against disruptive cyberattacks and protect patient data, allowing providers to focus on delivering care and improving patient outcomes.
Government agencies are top targets for cyberattacks because their records often contain highly confidential and personal information. State and local governments are vulnerable to attack as threat actors utilize their skills to infiltrate security networks and systems stealing data and information. United States government industries experienced 79 ransomware attacks in 2020 costing taxpayers nearly $19 billion in recovery and downtime. A majority of the cyberattacks against government agencies are from ransomware, however, only 38% of state and local employees are trained in preventing ransomware.
Financial institutions are concerned about server attacks and data theft because, on average, they hold over 350,000 exposed sensitive files. As a result of keeping such data, they are among the most at-risk industries for cyberattacks. Threat actors can implement malicious code to infiltrate servers containing exposed sensitive files to steal personal and financial information. People using mobile banking apps have contributed to more cyberattacks through app-based trojans and fake banking apps. A trojan creates a fake version of the bank’s login page and places it over the actual app. When a user enters their login information into the fake login page, the trojan steals the information without the user knowing they’ve been compromised. By partnering with SpearTip, you can alleviate overworked teams and focus on threat mitigation to effectively reduce risk and protect customer financial records.
Schools have become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks as they rely more on technology for teaching and learning. According to a security intelligence report, there are nearly 6 million cases of malware attacks of which 62% targeted the education sector. Malware, regardless of whether it’s a program or file, is harmful to any computer system or user. Ransomware, trojans, spyware, and adware are the most common types of malware. Half of the attacks on the education sector were spam or adware, and only 10% of the attacks were ransomware. Threat actors were frequently successful in shutting down online education platforms, affecting millions of students worldwide.
Energy and Utility Companies
Energy and utility companies are experiencing a growing number of ransomware attacks, including the attack on the Colonial Pipeline in May 2021. Threat actors successfully shut down the largest fuel pipeline in the United States resulting in gas shortage on the East Coast. With the Colonial Pipeline being one of the biggest ransomware attacks, this industry will continue to be a high-priority target for threat actors due to its importance to national and economic security. Whether you need to address the security of an air-gapped network or are working with legacy systems, SpearTip’s SOCs will go to work protecting these environments from devastating compromises.
With cyberattacks becoming more frequent for companies in the six most vulnerable industries, it’s crucial for companies of all sizes to stay current with the latest threat landscape and be proactive in protecting their data and assets. SpearTip creates a security strategy for your organization’s specific needs. With our approach, we help companies meet and maintain regulatory obligations. Learn how SpearTip detects advanced threats and manages risks across healthcare, finance, MSPs, government agencies, and critical infrastructure. SpearTip’s certified engineers are available 24/7 to assist your team in complying with these standards while also ensuring the safety of your company.
If your company is experiencing a breach, call our Security Operations Centers at 833.997.7327 to speak directly with an engineer.