Cyber Insurance Blog

The Top 10 Cyber Security Threats Today

The Top 10 Cyber Security Threats Today

Cyber Threats Are Evolving. Don’t Get Left Behind.

Cyber security is one of the fastest growing industries. More people than ever before are realizing the importance of data protection. Businesses, in particular, are taking notice as incidents cost companies billions of dollars every year and expose an enormous amount of personal data.

At ProWriters, we have a team of cyber experts dedicated to helping you navigate evolving cyber risks. We’ve identified the trends in cyber risk to keep you informed and prepared. Learn more about the top 10 cyber security threats today and what steps you and your clients can take.

Top 10 Cyber Security Threats

  1. Social Engineering
    Social engineering attacks exploit social interactions to gain access to valuable data. At the root of all social engineering attacks is deception. Cyber criminals trick and manipulate their targets into taking certain actions, such as bypassing security measures or disclosing certain sensitive information.

    Even the best cyber security systems can’t stop a social engineering attack, because the target lets the hacker into the system.
    Experts say social engineering attacks are on the rise, which is why we’ve listed it as a top threat.
  2. Third Party Exposure
    Many retailers use third parties for services such as payment processing. As such, they often believe liability for a third party breach does not apply to them. In reality, using a third party vendor does not absolve them of responsibility for a data breach.

    Even if a company does not directly handle personal information—including social security numbers or credit card numbers—a third party can put them at risk. With malware, hackers can steal data through third-party vendors, as they did in the Target malware attack in 2013. Even if the attack originated with a third party, the business that contracted with the third party vendor is still liable and legally required to notify their clients and regulators if there is a data breach. The fines and penalties can be steep; ranging between tens of thousands and millions of dollars depending on the circumstances.
  3. Patch Management
    Many attacks start with outdated software. For this reason, not staying up-to-date with software patches leaves companies vulnerable to any number of information security breaches. As soon as attackers learn of a software vulnerability, they can exploit it to launch a cyber attack.

    Two large-scale cyber attacks launched starting in May 2018 illustrate this trend in cyber security. The attacks exploited a critical weakness in the Windows operating system known as Eternal Blue. Crucially, Microsoft had released a patch for the Eternal Blue vulnerability two months earlier. Organizations that did not update their software were left exposed. Millions of dollars were lost over a simple lapse in updating software.
  4. Hooded cyber hacker illegally accessing information from a remote computer. Cloud Vulnerabilities
    The more we rely on the cloud for data storage, the higher the risk of a major breach. Cloud services are vulnerable to a wide range of cyber attacks. This includes account hijacking and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, which prevent companies from being able to access their data.

    Many businesses believe they are secure because they use cloud security technology. In reality, technology is only part of the solution. Because no technology can completely eliminate vulnerabilities, a holistic approach is needed for robust protection. Insurance is an important piece of that protection as part of a comprehensive cyber risk management plan.
  5. Ransomware
    Ransomware attacks are a serious cyber threat. These attacks infect your network and hold your data and computer systems hostage until a ransom is paid. The immediate losses from the ransom are only the tip of the iceberg. The monetary damages from lost productivity and data loss are often the most destructive to a business. Attacks like these are why 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of a cyber breach.

    Ransomware is among the top 10 cyber attacks and is a popular way for attackers to target businesses. This won’t change any time soon; according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ransomware attacks have been increasing across the globe.
  6. Mistaking Compliance for Protection
    Simply meeting data compliance standards is not the same as continuous and robust protection.

    For example, many companies need to meet the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) for their annual audit. However, this is not necessarily representative of their usual standard of protection. According to Verizon’s PCI Compliance Report, four out of five companies failed to maintain compliance at their interim assessment. These were the same companies that previously met compliance standards.

    Companies that were deemed PCI DSS compliant still suffered from cyber security breaches, some just weeks after they were certified. As these companies have learned, meeting adequate legal standards is not a substitute for cyber protection.
  7. Mobile Security Threats
    Mobile technology can be a significant asset to businesses, but it can also expose them to potential cyber security breaches. Findings from a recent mobile security report conclude that one in five organizations suffer from mobile security breaches. The majority of these attacks came from malware and malicious Wifi.
  8. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies
    Many companies are encouraging employees to use personal devices at work as part of their Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies. This has several benefits including increased flexibility and convenience. Some even claim it helps to increase productivity and morale.

    While there are numerous benefits, BYOD policies can also leave companies exposed to serious cyber security breaches. Personal devices can be easier to hack than company devices, creating an opening for attackers to breach networks and compromise data. It’s important to review these policies and ensure employees are properly trained to minimize the associated cyber risks.
  9. Internet of Things (IoT)
    The Internet of Things (IoT) connects devices from all over the world through the internet. This allows for a network of devices that can store, send, and receive data. Because of its convenience, many individuals and businesses are taking advantage of it.

    But the very thing that makes them convenient also makes them vulnerable. Hackers can exploit internet connectivity as an access point to steal data. As companies increasingly rely on IoT devices, many experts predict this will be one of the biggest cyber threats in the coming years.
  10. Outdated Hardware
    Not all threats to cyber security come from software.

    The pace at which software updates are released can make it difficult for the hardware to keep up. This, in turn, creates exposures that can put companies’ data at risk. As hardware becomes obsolete, many outdated devices will not allow updates with the latest patches and security measures.

    Devices that rely on older software are more susceptible to cyber attacks, creating a major potential vulnerability. It is important to monitor this and respond quickly when devices become out of date. Just like you should keep your software up-to-date, you should do the same with hardware.

At the end of the day, insurance is an important part of a holistic approach to cyber risk management. Cyber is a rapidly evolving exposure that requires dedicated expertise to address effectively. To learn about our cyber risk management solutions, check out our FREE eBook, Creating a Comprehensive Cyber Risk Management Plan. And when you’re ready for one-on-one support, schedule a call with a ProWriters expert today!

Subscribe to Our Monthly Newsletter!

Retail vs. Wholesale Brokerage

Experts Weigh In

Get the eBook