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The Internet has become a necessary tool in business today, with most companies having an online presence. Companies use the Internet for marketing themselves and connecting with their customers, selling their products or services, or store data in the cloud. It isn’t easy to find a company in existence that does not have an online footprint. This online presence, however, has led to an increase in cybercrime. Technopreneurs Matt Mahvi, who specializes in cybersecurity, and Rishabh Bhatt, an expert software developer himself, believe that any company that has not protected themselves from cybercrime is vulnerable and easy to target for cybercriminals.
“According to McAfee, cybercrime costs the global economy about $600 billion annually, and this figure increases each year exponentially,” says Mahvi. “Do not think that because you are a small company, you are not a target of cybercriminals. They are likely to target small businesses too because most of them do not focus on cybersecurity,” adds Bhatt.
Mahvi is the founder and CEO of Staminus, a cybersecurity company that protects against DDoS attacks, while Bhatt is the founder of Simple.Savr, a free text and file-sharing website. Both entrepreneurs emphasize that cybersecurity is as critical as a business plan for a company and have good reasons for small and medium companies to delve on.
New technology has led to an increase in cyberattacks
According to Mahvi, the technology world is evolving rapidly, with new technology introduced every so often. In as much as the changes make life easier, they also increase the vulnerability to cyberattacks.
IoT is the new buzzword in tech, with companies looking for ways to have as many devices as possible connected to the internet. While this is a very convenient thing, it leaves one vulnerable to cyberattacks. If, for instance, all the electronic devices in your house are connected to one network, the attack on one machine would leave all the other devices vulnerable to an attack.
“The number of IoT devices is estimated to hit around 30 billion by the end of the year,” says Mahvi. “These are 30 billion devices that could be compromised if their security is not beefed-up.”
Hackers can utilize AI and machine learning to trigger automated attacks that can compromise secure systems without needing any human intervention.
Cloud computing has become the in-thing in tech, with companies opting to rent or buy access to computing services – from storage to applications and processing power – from a cloud service provider instead of owning physical infrastructure. “With a large amount of data stored in the cloud, it becomes a target for cybercriminals who know that a single breach will give them access to a treasure trove of information,” states Bhatt.
Widely available hacking tools
“Cybercrime has been commercialized, with established hackers selling hacking software and programs,” believes Mahvi. “Cybercriminals can now easily obtain all the resources they need to launch all sorts of damaging attacks such as ransomware.”
While new software comes up every so often to either improve on an existing one or solve a new problem, this means that more hacking tools are becoming more available. “There are many hacking tools and programs available now on the internet, either for free or at an affordable price. Hacking tutorials are also readily available on the internet,” elaborates Bhatt. This means that there is a significant threat from less-skilled individuals who can easily access tutorials and software online in addition to well-funded and highly skilled hackers.
The rising cost of breaches
“Gone are the days when cyberattacks resulted in a few compromised usernames and passwords in one or two websites,” Mahvi opines. “Now, a breach is costly for a business to endure.”
A single breach can result in the data of hundreds of millions of users compromised. For instance, earlier this year, 267 million Facebook users’ personal information was stolen and put up for sale online. The stolen data included email addresses, names, dates of birth, and phone numbers. In April, Magellan Health, a Fortune 500 insurance company, discovered a security breach in its system, in which a sophisticated social engineering attack gave hackers access to its servers. The hackers launched a ransomware attack and gained access to sensitive information of patients such as names, contact information, social security numbers, taxpayer-identification numbers, and employee ID numbers. The people affected by this breach are now estimated to be 1.7 million.
“Companies spend millions of dollars when mitigating the effects of the breach. They have to pay to recover the stolen data, upgrade their cybersecurity systems, and pay any fines and penalties,” says Bhatt.
The cost of a single cyberattack is enormous, and it will be prudent if organizations ensure cybersecurity to protect their systems, customer data, and much more.