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The news is filled with pressing threats these days, both domestic and internationally. But while the average person may dismiss it, cyber attacks may be the biggest threat to our safety and way of life.

In fact, the recent ransomware attack has infected tens of thousands of computers in nearly 100 countries so far. Ransomware is the name for any form of malicious software – or malware – that attacks and commandeers another person’s computer, locking them out, and/or stealing their data – including sensitive financial information.

With this ransomware attack, a malware program called WannaCry has locked users out of their computers before demanding about $300 (and up) to let them gain control again.

This round of ransomware targeted businesses more than personal computers, affecting organizations as diverse as hospitals in England, telecom companies in Spain, government entities like the Russian Interior Ministry, and other industries.

While almost all organizations need to beef up their security, it’s individual users – both employees and personal computer users – who need to stay informed and vigilant about potential risks.

Here are some downright frightening facts about ransomware, malware, and cyber attacks:

The prevalence of cyber attacks:

431 million adults experience cybercrime every year, or well over 1million per day.

In fact, there are 12 victims of cyber crime every single second!

You’re 20 times more likely to be the victim of a cyber crime than being mugged, even in the most dangerous cities in America.

Each day, 30,000 websites are hacked and compromised.

Last year, cyber hackers stole and exposed the personal information of about half of all U.S. adults!

In recent years, we’ve experienced a:

91% increase in targeted attack campaigns.

62% increase in the number of cyber breaches.

1 in 8 legitimate websites has a critical vulnerability.

23% increase in web-based cyber attacks

Every day, well over 1.5 million people worldwide are victims of cybercrime.

What cyber attacks cost us:

In the United States alone, cyber crime costs us well over $100 billion each year.

It’s estimated that cybercrime costs us $388 billion every year worldwide, which is more than the entire international illegal drug trade profits!

Only 39% of Internet users say they take steps to protect their accounts and information.

On average, each cyber attack costs $11.6 million to rectify.

Let’s look at a profile of the average cyber criminal:

76% of cybercriminals are male.

You may think of mischievous teenage hackers when you think of cybercriminals, but that’s not the case. In fact, only 11% of cybercriminals are 25 years old or younger.

But 43% are 35 years old and up, while 29% are 45 and up.

They are also not lone wolves but work in organized gangs and criminal enterprises, with 50% of cyber criminals belonging to organizations that have 6 or more members.

Instead of being launched from huge cyber factories with sophisticated equipment, 61% of all fraud attempts are made from a simple mobile device.

The top five forms of cyber attacks include:

  1. Malware
  2. Ransomware
  3. DoS/DDoS (Denial of Service) attacks
  4. APP-Specific attack
  5. Phishing Scams

Cybercrime victims are most likely to be:

  • Male
  • Millenial
  • Mobile device owners and users
  • Social media users
  • Access and use public Wi-Fi networks
  • Parents of children ages 8-17

Cybercrime and your business:

60% of Small/Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are victims of cyber attacks every year. Often, they don’t even know it.

However, 37% of SMEs believe that they are too small to be of any interest to cyber hackers.

95% of security breaches involve criminals exploiting human error – including laziness leading to the most basic failures to back up data, use secure networks, reset passwords.

It’s estimated that cybercriminals could cost any business up to 5% of their total profits at any given time.

Cybercrime is the second most reported economic crime in the financial services industry. In fact, cybercrime accounts for 38% of all security incidents – or more than one-third.

33% of all cyber attacks occur in mere minutes.

89% of all data breaches are motivated by either:

Financial gain (theft), or espionage (cyberterrorism or foreign government surveillance).

Who (and what) is most at risk?

The top sectors that are victims of cybercrime include:

15% Unknown

14% Public industry

13% Financial services

11% Accommodations (like hotels, housing)

11% Manufacturing

8% Retail

7% Healthcare

7% Professional

7% Other

4% Information

3% Education

The technologies most at-risk for a cyber attack include:

  1. Infrastructure
  2. Mobile devices
  3. Social media
  4. Cloud services

Your mobile devices are increasingly at-risk:

50% of people do not use basic security precautions on their mobile devices.

50% of employees use their personal devices for work, exposing both personal and company data.

57% of people don’t even know that security solutions exist for mobile devices.

How are cybercriminals accessing their victims?

29% POS Intrusions

19% Crimeware

18% Cyber-espionage

11% Insider misuse

9% App attacks

8% Misc. errors

Only 3% of cyber attacks occur because of physical theft or loss (like when you lose your wallet with your credit card, theft of a server, etc.)

Likewise, only 3% of cyber attacks take place using credit card or payment card skimmers.

Where does cyber crime take place?

77.7% of all cyber security incidents take place in the U.S.

In fact, 65% of global Internet users have been victims of cybercrime at some point.

That includes 73% of U.S. citizens that have been victims of cybercrime at some point.

However, it’s estimated that less than 1% of all cyber attacks and cyber crimes originate from within U.S. borders.

The highest rates of Malware infection (encompassing many forms of cyber crime) take place in these countries:

China 49%

Taiwan 47.34%

Turkey 40.99%

Russia 38.95%

Mexico 36.89%

The lowest rates of Malware infection take place in these countries:

Sweden 19.88%

Finland 20.65%

Norway 21.63%

Japan 22.24%

Belgium 22.78%


Look for part 2 of this blog, where we give you basic steps you can take to protect yourself, your identity, your finances, and your business from cybercrime


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