Which Industries Are Most at Risk for Cyberattacks?

Based on a survey conducted by Statista, IT security professionals worldwide saw an increase in the number of cyberattacks due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The threats IT professionals faced were primarily seen in data infiltration and leakage. In addition, email phishing scams were reported by half of the respondents.

Businesses of all kinds and across the globe need to be prepared to face such threats. Cybercrime attacks prove to be costly — the FBI reports in their 2020 Internet Crime Report that costs exceed a total of $4.2 billion.

Many businesses can prevent falling victim to cybercrime. Still, not all business leaders know the ins and outs of IT security to employ these options. It can be incredibly challenging for companies that lack the funding to support a dedicated IT department.

Below are some examples of these industries and why the nature of their work tends to attract these types of cybercriminals.

1. Government Agencies

Each year, cyber threats that target the U.S. government grow in number, scale, and severity, making it challenging for governments to maintain a secure network.

According to the National Security Agency (NSA), some cybercriminals want to exploit government officials for information to gain an advantage over the U.S. In contrast, others aim to simply earn a profit. Whatever the reason, the government agencies that help run the country are highly vulnerable to facing cyber security attack attempts.

Because government agencies have access to highly sensitive information regarding national security, they must find innovative ways to secure their network and information technology infrastructure.

2. Health Care

Similar to government agencies, health care facilities often face instances of cybersecurity threats. Hackers are trying to take advantage of an industry still struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic, and they’re upping the ante with ransomware.

One reason hackers are trying to infiltrate health care facilities, such as hospitals, is to gain access to vaccine research. 2020 was already a tumultuous year for health care, and the pressures of fending off cyberspace threats added to the chaos.

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services found that the U.S. is considered the most targeted country in the world for cybersecurity attacks.

3. Financial Institutions

It’s no surprise that the financial sector has a target on its back regarding cybersecurity threats. Money is powerful and often motivates would-be hackers to do whatever it takes to access financial institution information. That could mean hacks, identity theft, or fraud.

The pandemic has only increased the need for reliable and trustworthy cybersecurity preventive measures. Banks and companies gather sensitive information from their customers, and maintaining a secure network to prevent data breaches is crucial.

Protecting customer information should be a top priority for all employees and top management working at financial institutions.

4. Energy Companies

Energy companies need to employ cyber-resilience strategies to protect their various assets and function properly. The public relies on dependable energy infrastructure, and cyber attacks work to dismantle it.

The Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) is in place to strengthen the weak areas of cybersecurity in the energy sector. It monitors the ever-changing energy security needs and implements preventive measures to lower any industry cyber attack risks. Here are some examples of CESER’s responsibilities:

5. Education

Many are aware of the recent educational sector shifts, including the change to hybrid learning environments and more students using digital resources to access their learning materials.

Because of this, schools have had to implement cybersecurity measures to ensure student information is protected. Cyber security attacks can easily disrupt student learning, making it challenging for educators to adequately teach students during the school year.

Schools can limit the risks of cyberattacks by employing well-informed IT leaders within the school district and implementing cybersecurity insurance. In addition, educating teachers, parents, and students about cybersecurity can help reduce the risks of phishing, data breaches, or ransomware attacks.

6. Manufacturing

With advanced technologies emerging, it’s evident that cybersecurity is becoming more vital to the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers rely on data to run their operations, which opens them up to facing more cybersecurity attacks.

Hackers are looking to target industrial control systems to yield a big payday. Ransomware attacks are increasing in the manufacturing sector, so industry leaders need to develop new ways of protecting their assets.

Disruptions in manufacturing supply chains will likely create a domino effect and impact getting products to consumers and businesses. Supply chain disruptions often lead to shortages of materials, which can impact other industries, such as construction or consumer electronics.

As a direct result of the pandemic, many businesses across various industries have to invest more time and money into improving their cybersecurity measures.

Cybersecurity Measures in the Future

As advanced technology continues to develop, it’ll be necessary for industries to implement cybersecurity measures and adapt to a more secure environment. Protecting existing data from getting into the hands of malicious hackers will be a top priority for these industries moving forward.

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Zachary Amos

Zachary is a tech writer and the features editor of ReHack Magazine where he covers cybersecurity and all things technology.

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