Here on this blog, we often write about how one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business is assuming that you are not at risk of a cyber attack. Many small businesses assume that they are too small for hackers to even bother messing with.
While this is untrue, and businesses of ALL sizes and industries should always plan for a would-be cyber attack, the reality is that some industries attract attacks more so than others.
Think about it — what drives a hacker to attack the digital infrastructure of a business? They’re looking to steal data, and that data has to have value.
Today, we’re taking a look at some specific industries that have proven to be attractive targets for hackers and why.
When it comes to gauging the value of data, the information stored by health care and medical providers is arguably the most valuable. These types of businesses store troves of personal and financial information.
This information can be used for many different nefarious purposes — from opening up credit cards to purchasing prescription drugs to be sold on the street. In fact, a Reuters article took a deep dive into this topic and found that your medical record is worth 10 times more than your credit card information when in the hands of a capable hacker!
For this very reason, businesses belonging to this space must adhere to industry regulations and become HIPAA-compliant.
Not only do educational institutions store a cache of valuable information — this can even include valuable research that was collected by research institutions — but the nature of these organizations make them a natural target for hackers who are looking for a soft spot.
Educational institutions often see significant turnover amongst their staff, which can make it tough to limit access to only those who need it. Overall, higher education institutions are fairly notorious for poor cyber security measures, leaving sensitive information fairly easy to access.
When hackers are targeting information that is worth money, it makes a bit of sense that they target the institutions that deal with people’s money. These institutions also store massive amounts of personal information, which is valuable to hackers, as well.
Here’s a couple of grim pieces of information for you. Because the stakes are so high, it costs financial service businesses a lot more to address a cyber breach than the typical business and these types of businesses are nearly 300 times more likely to be attacked.
The FDIC has regulations in place that mandate robust cyber security measures, but that has not made financial companies immune to breaches.
This is an umbrella category that encompasses a wide range of businesses, but it’s important to note that, not only are small businesses are very much a target, but a significant cyber attack can be enough to drive that company out of business for good.
Certain businesses are more susceptible — those that rely heavily on digital aspects of their companies (i.e. e-commerce), which is a list that continues to grow with each passing year.
Bottom line: You need to be conscious of the threats that face your unique business and make sure that you are taking the right steps to protect yourself.
If you belong to an industry that has specific information security regulations, your first order of business is to follow those regulations to a ‘T’ and get in compliance.