Cyberattacks are on the rise—something I predicted years ago would happen. Now, with a large amount of people working remotely, the COVID-19 pandemic has sped this up a bit. We are seeing what some might call an alarming surge phishing and ransomware attacks. Let’s look at some of the numbers, and break this down by vertical.

The Verizon Business 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 2021, released last month, saw 5,258 breaches from 83 contributors across the globe—a whopping third more breaches analyzed than last year. Sadly, what this is saying to me is that the bad guys are finding the vulnerabilities more and more.

Additionally, breach data showed 61% of breaches involved credential data, with 95% of organizations suffering credential stuffing attacks had between 637 and 3.3 billion malicious login attempts through the year. Breach simulations found the median financial impact of a breach is $21,659, with 95% of incidents falling between $826 and $653,587. Yikes. Those are some alarming and very staggering numbers.

How can we protect against this? Education might be our best defense, meaning if we know how all of these nefarious characters are getting in, then we can better protect ourselves against the cybercrime.

Let me give you a few examples. Breaking this down by vertical market, we can closely exam a few with the biggest challenges. In public administration, for instance, the biggest threat is the social engineers. Here bad actors who can craft a credible phishing email can tap into credentials data at a high rate. Solution: Train these folks to recognize such emails.

As another case, the retail industry continues to be the target for financially motivated criminals looking to cash in on the combination of payment cards and personal information. Social tactics include pretexting and phishing, with the former commonly resulting in fraudulent money transfers. This is going to require a more systematic approach to protecting that data.

Finally, let’s look at the financial and insurance industries, where 83% of data compromised in breaches was personal data, according to Verizon’s report. Misdelivery represented 55% of financial sector errors. The financial sector frequently faces credential and ransomware attacks from external actors. This is a bit more complicated.

Digging in deeper, A State of Mobile Finance App Security 2021 from Intertrust shows 77% of apps have at least one critical or high security vulnerability, while a staggering 81% of finance apps leak data. In a world where data is king, we need to do something about this. The United Kingdom might be on to something, as those finance apps contain the fewest critical vulnerabilities. The solution here could come in the form of in-app protection.

Here’s the bottomline. Cybercrime is on the rise. We are seeing thieves make off with both data and money. The time is now to step up and take action—and it all starts by better understanding the problem at hand.

Want to tweet about this article? Use hashtags #IoT #sustainability #AI #5G #cloud #edge #futureofwork #digitaltransformation #green #ecosystem #environmental #circularworld #cyberattack