Cyber attacks are growing in prominence every day – from influencing major elections to crippling businesses overnight, the role cyber warfare plays in our daily lives should not be underestimated.
In fact, billionaire investor Warren Buffett claims that cyber threats are the biggest threat to mankind and that they are bigger than threats from nuclear weapons.
We have been compiling a list of relevant cyber-security statistics for you for years now and have decided to update our list with the most alarming cyber security statistics for 2019:
1. Americans are more worried about being a victim of cybercrime than being a victim of violent crime.
Read that again and let it sink in for a minute.
According to a Gallup study, Americans are more worried about cybercrime than violent crimes (including terrorism, being murdered, and being sexually assaulted). Not only are Americans more worried about cybercrime than other crimes, but their worries about cyber crimes has been consistent for about a decade now.
Specially, Americans are more worried about identity theft and being hacked:
- 71 percent of Americans are worried about having their personal or financial information hacked.
- 67 percent of Americans are worried about being a victim of identity theft.
- 24 percent are worried about being a victim of terrorism.
- 22 percent are worried about being attacked while driving, 20 percent about being sexually assaulted, and 17 percent about being murdered.
- 7 percent are worried about being assaulted at the workplace.
2. 1.76 billion records were leaked in January 2019 alone.
The year has barely started, but 2019 is on track to be a dangerously interesting year as far as data leaks is concerned.
In January 2019 alone, exactly 1,769, 185,063 user records were leaked. These include records from the famous Collection #1 breach containing user info and plain text passwords for about 772 million people compiled from some of the biggest data breaches to have happened, a MongoDB instance containing 854GB of data that exposed CVs containing sensitive information about 202 million Chinese users, and an Oklahoma government data leak that exposed 7 years of FBI investigations.
3. Ransomware is expected to cost businesses and organizations $11.5 billion in 2019.
The WannaCry ransomware attack made many people cry in 2017 — including the British National Health Service (NHS). It affected an estimated 200,000 computers in 150 countries and caused damages estimated to be in the billions of dollars. Other popular ransomware attacks include CryptoLocker, CryptoWall, TeslaCrypt, and SamSam.
Read also: Ransomware Attack On Bristol Airport Screens
Ransomware attacks aren’t slowing down any time soon. They will cost organizations an estimated $11.5 billion this year alone — and from individual computer users to governments, nobody is exempt. In fact, just recently, the local government of Jackson County, Georgia, had to pay $400,000 in ransom due to a ransomware attack and North Carolina’s Orange County experienced its third ransomware attack in six years.
4. Microsoft Office extensions are the most malicious file extensions used by email hackers.
According to data from Cisco’s 2018 Annual Cybersecurity Report, the most malicious file extension used by email hackers in 2018 was Microsoft Office formats. This includes files in the Word, PowerPoint, and Excel formats.
While the .EXE executable file format used to be very popular among hackers, most email service providers now block attachments with these formats due to their tendency to be exploited to distribute Malware. Microsoft Office formats have now taken the top spot for malicious file extensions; these formats are being exploited with the hope of using macros embedded in the documents to evade email security checks and computer antivirus programs.
Cisco’s study shows that 38 percent of malicious file extensions are Microsoft Office files. This is followed by archive file formats (.zip and .jar) at 37 percent and PDF files at 14 percent.
5. The main cause of data breaches are malicious or criminal attacks — and they are responsible for 48 percent of all data breaches.
Several factors have been found to be responsible for data breaches. They include:
- Human error (such as negligence on the part of employees or contractors)
- System glitches
- Malicious or criminal attacks (in which a business was intentionally targeted with malicious intent)
IBM and Ponemon’s Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Study found that not only are malicious or criminal attacks the major cause of a data breach, they are also the most costly. According to the study, 48 percent of data breaches are as a result of malicious or criminal attacks (compared to 27 percent for human error and 25 percent for system glitch).
These attacks commonly involve malware infections, SQL injection, phishing/social engineering, and criminal insiders. These attacks generally cost $157 per user, compared to that from system glitches that costs $131 per user and that from human error that costs $128 per user.
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