Illusive Blog December 16, 2015

Cyber Crime Vulnerabilities Across 4 Major Industries

By The Illusive Networks team

cyber_crimeYou don’t need a long report to tell you that cyber crime is on the rise. You’ve seen the news—major companies like JP Morgan Chase, Anthem, LastPass, CVS and more have all fallen victim to data breaches in 2015.

The truth is that any company harboring sensitive customer information could become the target of a sophisticated cyber attacker.

That being said, there are certainly industries that are more vulnerable to attacks. Let’s take a closer look at four of the most vulnerable industries—financial services, healthcare, insurance and retail.

Financial Services Attacks—It’s All About the Money

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that financial services and banking companies are susceptible to cyber attacks. They deal exclusively with money and cyber criminals are often looking for a big reward for their efforts.


Compromising a company in this industry can lead to an immediate reward if attackers can manage to siphon sensitive banking information. Here are some telling findings from a recent Websense report on cyber security in the financial services industry:

  • Financial services and banking companies are 300% more likely to experience a data breach than the average company.

  • 33% of all lure-stage attacks (phishing and other social engineering) are launched against financial services.

  • It’s becoming increasingly difficult to identify common attack vectors—cyber criminals in this sector are adept at changing their campaigns to remain undetected.

  • Cyber insurance is often used as an excuse to not upgrade security systems in this industry—make sure your network defenses are prepared for sophisticated attacks.

Healthcare Cyber Crime—Going After the Patients

In the healthcare industry, every decision is literally a matter of life and death. Such pressure has kept the industry from adopting the latest technology, but the convenience and efficiency of electronic health records (EHR) are changing the way hospitals and other healthcare providers function on a daily basis.

Has convenience come at the cost of security? Since EHRs came onto the scene in 2009, breaches of these systems have cost the industry $50 billion and compromised 94 million records. A Websense deep-dive shows just how vulnerable the healthcare industry is:

  • Healthcare is 400% more likely than average to be targeted by advanced malware attacks.

  • Cryptowall is used 400% more against healthcare than other industries.

  • The Dyre attack vector is 300% more common in this industry.

  • Phishing schemes are prevalent in the industry (74% more than average).

The Insurance Industry Has Its Own Issues Without Worrying About Covering Others

The insurance industry has been tasked with figuring out how to cover every company against dangerous cyber criminals—a tall task in an evolving space. But the industry is facing its own cyber crime issues as well. The insurance industry may not have as many cyber security reports available, but that doesn’t mean cyber crime isn’t out there.

In 2015 alone, health insurance providers Anthem and Premera have experienced data breaches resulting in 100 million compromised personally identifiable information (PII) files. It may not be a direct monetary reward, but PII gives cyber criminals the necessary data to launch lucrative attacks.

In the Retail Industry, Convenience is a Burden on Security

The retail industry must tend to consumer demands for convenience and ease-of-use more than most industries. However, implementing ecommerce sites and mobile payment structures can introduce security vulnerabilities and lead to identity theft and breached credit card data. The retail industry has been the target of some of the most devastating data breaches in history—Target and Home Depot just to name two—and IBM Security published research to help you keep track of the latest trends:

  • Cyber attack volume has dropped significantly, but breaches are more devastating than ever—breaches of 10 million or more records increased by 43% between 2013 and 2014.

  • In 2014, retail data breaches resulted in over 61 million compromised records—fewer than 2013, but still a near record high.

  • A lull in Black Friday and Cyber Monday attacks shows that the retail industry isn’t just a target in the midst of traffic spikes.

Reality Check: No Industry Is Immune to Data Breaches

While these four industries are highly vulnerable to cyber crime because of the data they store, every industry should be on notice at this point—cyber criminals are coming and a more proactive approach to security is necessary for protection. Whether you’re in a high-target industry or increasingly vulnerable industries like energy or education, you could be the next target of an attack.

The key to modern cyber security is not to shy away from the danger—but to attack problems head on. Updating your security measures with a proactive Deceptions Everywhere® solution can be a game changer for your defense systems.


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