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How Much Does Cybercrime Cost Canadian Companies?
Cybercrime continues to pose a real risk to businesses of all sizes, across all industries. Attackers have ever-more-sophisticated tools and techniques at their disposal, empowering them to launch bold hacks — with potentially devastating results.
We all want to believe we’ve taken the necessary steps to build a safe, secure business that’s strong enough to resist cyber-attacks. We all want to trust our team is informed and educated enough to avoid opening the doors for viruses to simply walk into our systems. But, sadly, that’s not always the case.
Businesses worldwide have a shared responsibility — to their clients and employees — to take precautions against cybercrime. When personal and financial details are leaked by attackers, people and businesses alike can suffer. Research reveals the average price paid by Canadian firms in 2018 amounts to a staggering US$9.25 millionper business.
This is an astonishing sum of money for any company, even those operating at an international or global level. Let’s take a closer look at which types of attacks were most common, what the biggest vulnerabilities are and more.
The Most Common Cybersecurity Risks Facing Canadian Businesses
Cybercrime comes in many forms, but the most prevalent throughout 2018 was the malware-based attack. Individual companies in Canada lost over US$2 million on average to these, and the number of malware-based attacks actually grew by 11 percent from the previous year.
That’s sobering news for any company taking a lax approach to its cybersecurity. Malware can infect your system and cause major disruptions with surprising ease: all it takes is one unaware employee downloading a suspicious attachment from an unsecure website or email. Your entire business could be affected for days or weeks, costing you valuable time and money.
As well as malware-based cybercrimes, ransomware became even more of a danger to Canadian companies in 2018, growing by 15 percent. This is a particularly unnerving type of attack, essentially locking certain key aspects of your business’s system until you agree to pay the amount of money (typically, a cryptocurrency) demanded.
The risk of ransomware
Ransomware may bring your working processes to a halt or, to a lesser extent, cause severe delays. Clients may become frustrated and concerned by your system’s vulnerabilities, choosing to take their business elsewhere. They could spread the word of your security flaws to acquaintances, relating their own stories either privately or publicly.
This can affect your reputation enough to leave prospective new clients wondering how safe their data will be in your hands. Winning their trust and demonstrating how you plan to handle any similar incidents in the future would be a sizeable challenge, particularly when you’re in a competitive industry.
Around 70 percent of ransomware attacks of 2018 were launched against small businesses, while the average sum of money demanded was more than $110,000 — a huge amount for any small firm. But that’s not the highest price asked for: one ransomware attack saw the victim faced with a charge of over $8 million. And one client actually paid just under $1 million to regain access to their entire system.
Some of these figures are mind-boggling, especially when even the biggest brands have so many overheads to consider. While global companies may appear to have millions of dollars to sacrifice when struck by a ransomware attack, they have many people depending on them — employee salaries, products, services and more all must be taken into account.
Enough of a powerful hit may have a domino effect, causing significant ripples to occur for a long time after. Sadly, though, one of the areas most commonly hit by ransomware attacks was healthcare. Loss of data and resources here could mean the difference between life and death in some cases.
Another form of cybercrime increasing in popularity during 2018 was phishing, with a 16 percent riseon 2017’s numbers. These involve cybercriminals posing as businesses or reliable individuals to fool victims into sharing critical information like passwords, credit card details and similar.
Research reveals an incredible 85 percent of firms questioned have come into contact with this type of cyberattack.
One of 2018’s prominent phishing scams focused on the World Cup. Targets received emails claiming they were the lucky winners of tickets, offering the chance to become part of the excitement in Russia. For dedicated soccer fans with little to no awareness of phishing scams, such a scheme is easy to fall for, leading you to hand over crucial information in the hopes of watching a game.
However, anyone opening attachments, clicking on links or providing their details in exchange for said tickets would be in for a nasty surprise.
Taking Steps to Protect Your Business Against Cybercrime
The prevalence of cybercrime highlights just how important a proper cybersecurity program is for every single company. Simply taking the stance of assuming your business faces no risk because there are bigger targets is impractical, not to say dangerous. Just one powerful attack could cause lasting problems your team is simply unprepared for.
Taking precautions to strengthen your business’s cybersecurity plans and procedures is vital to minimize your risk of falling prey to hackers. Work with professionals to secure your system and safeguard against breaches — this offers valuable peace of mind, leaving you (and your team) free to focus on core responsibilities.
Effective training for each employee with access to any device is paramount too. It only takes one simple mistake to bring a vulnerable system to its knees, and an uninformed worker may well have no idea what constitutes a threat. There are various solutions to protect your business and build a security-savvy team with the skills to identify dangers.
Want to learn more about your cybersecurity options? Please don’t hesitate to get in touchwith The Driz Group’s experts now!
Steve E. Driz, I.S.P., ITCP