There is a reason True Crime is among the most popular genres of media right now. People love to learn about transgressive acts, and they like to imagine ways they would have behaved if they were in the victims’ (or the perpetrators’) shoes.
Yet, cybercrime is often left out of True Crime stories, though in reality, it harms far more victims than violent crime ever could. To those interested in learning more about one of the most widespread and devastating forms of crime, read on to learn some facts about cybersecurity (or lack thereof):
The Vast Majority of Breaches Are the Result of Human Error
It is tempting to imagine a group of nefarious hackers in a dark room manipulating code in their attempts to break through cyber defenses, using the most advanced technological tools available to get access to valuable data. Unfortunately, the reality is much simpler, and dishearteningly so.
An abysmal 85 percent of cyberattacks are successful because a well-meaning person made a grievous security mistake. Perhaps someone set their login code to “password,” or maybe someone opted not to update an application for a week or two. Then again, oftentimes cybercriminals will target people, as opposed to systems, knowing full well that users are by far the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain. Social engineering and phishing campaigns can be remarkably convincing, so it is no wonder that so many people readily divulge login credentials or account information to precipitate these sorts of attacks.
The key to mitigating the threat of human error is education. Individual users need to understand the various threats that could result in a cyberattack and data breach, and users need to be equipped with the knowledge for recognizing and avoiding those threats. Individuals and organizations should have plans for responding to ongoing attacks, so they can reduce damage and recover faster.
Email Remains a Primary Vector for Malware
There are so many different ways people communicate online: Facebook, Twitter, comments, direct messages, blogs, video calls — and yet, email still reigns supreme. In 2022, more than 333 billion emails are sent and received every day, and a large number of those contain malware. In fact, research has found that 94 percent of all malware is delivered through email, as opposed to other malware vectors like third-party download sites or corrupt web links.
One of the earliest tools for communicating online, email wasn’t built to be secure, and it still isn’t secure, today. Cyberattackers can compromise email in a number of locations — on a user’s device, on a network, on a server — and there is nothing that prevents one person from sending a message to another once they know an email address. Though modern email clients have done what they can to filter out email spam, the onus of avoiding malware attachments in emails still rests on users.
Users should employ basic cyber hygiene to keep their email inboxes clean and safe. Antivirus tools can scan attachments for threats and quarantine malicious programs, but being able to see clearly what is in one’s inbox is a significant help toward avoiding dangerous messages and attachments. Thus, users should take advantage of a free Mac cleaner or free PC cleaner to remove the junk as often as possible.
The Global Cost of Cybercrime Is in the Trillions
Experts anticipate that the global cost of cybercrime will rise to over $10.5 trillion by 2025. Expenses contributing to these rising costs include factors like the damage to data, the theft of intellectual property and the loss of money directly due to ransoms, account theft and fraud. What’s more, individuals and organizations must pay to build and maintain cyber defenses to keep cyberattackers at bay.
Currently, cybercrime does pay. In total, cybercrime has netted attackers an astonishing $1.5 trillion, with the most productive cybercriminals pocketing about $2 million per year. With more support from global governments, reducing the cost of cyberattacks should be possible — but that requires individuals and organizations to speak up about their experiences and demand action from their representatives.
Just as people are to blame for assault and murder, people are to blame for the heinous cybercrimes inflicted on essentially every web user. Yet, while it is possible to procure disability insurance to cover damage inflicted by violent crime, victims of cyberattack have little recourse. Knowing more about cybersecurity is essential for surviving in the Digital Age, and understanding these startling statistics about the cyber landscape will help everyone bolster their security strategy into the future.
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