What is Cyber-crime?
Cyber-crime, or computer oriented crime, is crime that involves a computer and a network. Cybercriminals may use computer technology to access personal information, business trade secrets or use the internet for exploitative or malicious purposes. Common types of cybercrime include online bank theft, identity theft, online predatory crimes and unauthorised computer access and denial of services. More serious crimes like cyber terrorism are also of significant concern.
Cyber Attacks in 2017
- There were 918 data breaches in the first six months of 2017. Almost 2 billion data records around the world were lost or stolen. That’s an increase of 164% compared to the previous year.
- Of these 918 breaches, 500 breaches had an unknown number of compromised records, while 22 of the largest data breaches involved more than one million compromised records.
- The 2017 Cybercrime Report states that cybercriminal activity will be one of the biggest challenges humanity will face in the next two decades.
Whichever way you look at it, 2017 has been a bad year for cyber attacks on companies and organisations. In case you have forgotten, let’s just look at a few of the more highly publicised ones:
- The NHS became a victim of a global ransomware attack back in August 2017 (and also in subsequent months) and faced renewed concern about the strength of its infrastructure.
- Tens of thousands of computers at hospitals and GP surgeries were hit in almost 100 countries by malware, which can do anything from steal data to encrypt files and demand ransom.
- The severity of the attack resulted in patient operations being cancelled, ambulances being diverted and documents such as patient records being made unavailable.
- Uber failed to disclose a massive global breach of the personal information of 57 million customers and drivers, failing to notify the individuals and regulators.
- Hackers stole personal data of which Uber reportedly paid the hackers $100,000 to delete data and keep the breach quiet.
- Data stolen included names, email addresses, phone numbers as well as the names and driver’s license numbers of 600,000 drivers.
- US credit monitoring firm Equifax revealed that personal details of almost 700,000 Britons were hacked in a cyber-attack.
- Cyber criminals had targeted 15.2 million client records.
- Exposed data included, email addresses, passwords, driving license numbers and phone numbers. The stolen data also included partial credit card details of 15,000 customers.
Large organisations are not the only companies to be a victim of cyber crime. Nearly half of all cyberattacks are committed against small businesses.
Unfortunately the frequency of cyber attacks is only likely to rise next year, according to Gartner. Cybersecurity Ventures also predicts that a business will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 14 seconds by 2019, increasing from every 40 seconds in 2017.
All in all, 2017 should be a wake-up call for everyone to implement good security to ensure data is secure. As a follow-up to this article, we’ll soon publish a guide on how to protect yourself from cyber attacks and how to stay safe online.