Every day, innocent people go to websites and input sensitive data daily which is collected by criminals who pretend to represent something they are not. Every year the number of exploits, offering “free” gift cards or claiming to be authorities like the Internal Revenue Service, steal money from naive youth up to confused seniors.
There are too many stories to count about data being used to create a criminal opportunity. Criminals are even extorting men that might be cheating on a spouse and successfully extorting them. They play the angle. You see, there are statistics that says a certain percent of men in society are cheating. So, mass emails are sent to thousands of men telling them to pay or be exposed. The response rate is very high.
Millions of dollars are forwarded to a criminal enterprise by the terrorized victim to assure the information about their infidelity never gets out. All of this starts with data that is stolen in data breaches identifying men who are married and living in a certain area. However, it is the specific information about the target, like the name of their wife, which gets the potential victim’s attention.
Growth of the Hacking Industry
These types of enterprises will continue to grow with each data breach. The acquisition of information that can provide hackers personal insight in our lives fuels their operations. Our collective goal must push us to new systems and approaches that show real results.
Respected consulting firm Accenture produced a report recently called “Securing the Digital Economy: Reinventing the Internet of Trust recently. In the report they explain that globally the costs of cybercrime loss and additional recovery expenses could cost 5 trillion dollars over the next five years. Here are some other facts that can’t be ignored. There were almost 10 billion private records stolen through data breaches in 2018.
Small businesses accounted for more than 55% of cyber victims in the last couple of years. The Identity Fraud Study advised that in the last six years identity thieves have stolen over $107 billion in the U.S. Of course, this number does not account for costs associated with reclaiming identity related to legal representation, court costs, time off work and reputation destruction.
Keeping Unauthorized Users Out
The ability to gain remote access to systems and control physical assets from anywhere gives us a high-powered capability. However, all people with these tools are not using them for purposeful and good outcomes. We lack an ability to keep unauthorized users out. This is the one piece of background information which should inform how we develop and how we protect assets, systems and networks. However, it doesn’t.
The threats to government, systems, enterprises and individual identities are at stake. There is an erosion of core tenants underpinning all aspects of our lives. It is happening with a deafening silence only heard by victims once they have suffered a loss. The calculations by leaders of the free world and business titans to minimize the potential catastrophic impact cyber events present is eye-opening. Those with the power to affect a risk reducing change, like politicians, chief executive officers and vendors hold tight to minimizing their apparent costs. All the time a timebomb ticks in the background. Their calculation is that when it blows it is other guy who suffers the damage.
We will have to create a culture of cybersecurity in the near future to withstand the ever-expanding threat environment. A culture of cybersecurity is a description of an active learning environment where good cyber hygiene is practiced and expected. It doesn’t just happen. Training must begin at a young age in schools or at the point an employee first comes onboard. In this world, opportunities to mitigate cyber risks are identified and acted on with a “whole of community” approach.
The result is a familiarity with cybersecurity opportunities, reduced fear of employment entry and a push towards cyber entrepreneurship. Most importantly, this culture is underpinned by continuous risk management approach to our lives. Unfortunately, it is a society we can only dream about this in current times. However, it is worth working towards this goal.