There are many ways cybercriminals can exploit networked computers and other devices to spread malicious software, disrupt computer systems or software, and steal data.
The impacts and consequences of these online attacks can have real, and sometimes devastating, effects.
With a growing number of security cameras and other hardware becoming connected to the Internet or internal networks, physical security solutions can also be a potential target for cyber threats.
That’s why at Genetec we don’t just focus on security, but also what we call security-of-security to ensure that the security system itself won't introduce new vulnerabilities onto your network.
Motivations and methods behind cyber attacks
Cyber attackers can have many motivations, including curiosity, a wish to demonstrate their skill at bypassing online security systems, or simply a desire to cause mischief. But most of the time, money is at the root of cyberattacks.
Some attackers install malicious software called spyware on victims’ computers to steal their passwords or create copycat websites that look like those of banks or online retailers to trick victims into providing their credit card information or passwords to bank accounts.
Other attackers install another kind of malicious software called ransomware to block access to essential data or systems unless the victim pays the attacker to restore access. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the global cost of ransomware alone is predicted to hit $20 billion in 2021, up from $11.5 billion in 2019, and $5 billion in 2017.
The financial impact of cyberattacks
But even if the aim of the attack is not specifically to steal money or coerce someone into sending cash, there is often a financial toll:
- Companies face legal, regulatory, and technical costs to recover from a breach
- Businesses lose productivity when the software they rely on isn’t working due to malware
- Organizations can face interrupted operations and lose productivity as a result of their network or website being down (due to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks for example)
- Victims often must pay to restore or replace damaged devices, or fix code on compromised websites
- Customers lose trust when their data is breached, which increases turnover. The average cost of lost business due to lost trust in the IBM/Ponemon study was $1.52 million, or about 40 percent of the overall cost of a breach
How small businesses can be affected by cyber threats
You might think your business is too small to be a target for cyber attacks. In fact, we ran a poll last year on Twitter in which 39% of respondents believed that they are safe from cyberattacks.
Have you or your business been cyber-attacked? If so, what type?— @Genetec MEA (@genetecMEA) July 22, 2019
Yet most cyber threats, like malware spread by phishing emails, aren’t aimed at a specific victim. Anyone can be affected.
Whether your company has 10 employees or 10,000, your systems could be compromised in a moment by one person’s inadvertent click on a bad link.
The IBM/Ponemon report noted that although the average cost of cyberattacks for smaller businesses is typically less than faced by big companies, the financial impact is disproportionately harder to recover from:
- It was reported that the average cost of a cyber attack for organizations with more than 25,000 employees was $4.25 million.
- The cost for medium-sized organizations, in the range of 5,001 to 10,000 employees, increased from an average of $4.41 million in 2019 to $4.72 million in 2020.
- The cost for smaller organizations, with between 500 and 1,000 employees, was reported to be $2.53 million in 2020.
Proportionally, smaller firms have higher average costs per employee than larger firms.
What's the impact of a data breach?
According to the research, the impact of a data breach can be felt for years. Although the biggest hit is in the first year, organizations continue to deal with residual effects like employee turnover and loss of brand trust.
An average of 61 percent of costs came in the first year, while 24 percent were tallied in the following year and 15 percent two years or more after the incident.
The bottom line
Cyber attacks can cost your organization money and time, threaten your reputation and privacy, and disrupt your business for years after the initial event. Thankfully there are things you can do to reduce your risk.
Here at Genetec, we work closely with our customers and partners to deliver solutions that provide the best protection now, and in the future. Visit the Genetec Trust Center to learn about our approach.