It’s no secret that data breaches impact lots of people. But it may be shocking to learn just how many. Just ask people in the state of New York, a third of whom fell victim to cyberattacks in the past year.
NY Attorney General Paints a Picture of Breaches, And it’s Not Pretty
In New York, attacks on small and medium-sized businesses as well as the population at large are so rampant that the Attorney General, Eric T. Schneiderman, decided to commission a study into cybercrime in the state. The report points to a problem that is only growing in scale and severity.
According to the report, instances of cyberattacks have shot up threefold between 2006 and 2013, and that number doesn’t look to be on the decline anytime soon. One key reason malicious intrusions are becoming more common, the report stated, is because third-party hackers are becoming increasingly adept at breaching enterprises. Indeed, the report found that hacking attacks represented 40 percent of overall breaches during the seven-year period the report covered.
But the surge in security episodes isn’t only due to hackers gaining momentum — it’s also a byproduct of naivete on the part of those who are eventually targeted as victims. For whatever reason, many businesses operate under the false notion that because they haven’t yet been attacked, it means they never will. This is a viewpoint that’s rooted in ignorance and disproved by cold hard facts. As the report uncovered, 7.3 million New Yorkers — or roughly a third of the state’s overall population — fell victim to a malicious incursion in 2013 alone. Breaches racked up a tab last year that topped $1.3 billion.
As Schneiderman pointed out, facts such as these paint a grim picture for the future if businesses remain unwilling to implement the enterprise security that will keep the bad guys out.
“As information increasingly drives commerce and government, the challenges presented by data security breaches will continue to grow,” he wrote. “The scope of the data breach problem detailed in this report demands a systemic response.”
What the findings boil down to is an imperative for businesses: Build up your defenses or wait to be attacked. Hopefully most businesses choose the former route, in which case here are some of the things that can be done to keep cybercrime out of your company:
- Implement two-factor or strong authentication. When it comes to guarding your business’ identity, you can never be too careful since hackers lie in waiting, ready to exploit any vulnerability you create. With two-factor authentication, businesses take a significant step toward making the company infrastructure impenetrable to outside forces.
- Have a plan in place to regulate business security. Nothing is worse than an enterprise free-for-all in which employees treat company servers like they would their own bedroom, dumping data wherever it may land. By having a solid structure in place that regulates information storage and security, your business can guard itself against an attack. When you’re equipped with a plan, you’ll never find yourself with your hands in the air, wondering what happened.