All businesses are fair game to cybercriminals, from large multi-national corporations employing thousands to small businesses with less than 10 employees. There are, however, some industries that are more appealing than others that make them more vulnerable to cyberattacks; industries where there is an abundance of personal data compiled in one place, industries that can quickly access large amounts of money, industries that are not aware of or are not keeping abreast of the threat landscape, and industries where regulations are lax. These are just some of the characteristics that make the following 5 industries simply irresistible to hackers.
1 - Healthcare
Among the industries reporting the highest level of data breaches, healthcare is an ideal target for hackers. Why? Providers handle an immense amount of personal data and at the same time there is a lack of cybersecurity knowledge within the industry, a dream combination for opportunistic cybercriminals. Hackers are getting increasingly clever but the industry is not advancing to keep pace with the threat. The fee for companies to protect patients is about $8 per patient, but it costs $200 per patient to fix a breach. It seems like easy math, but many companies are not aware of the real cost of a data breach, and leave themselves open to repeated cyberattacks.
*The American Medical Association 2018
2 - Legal Services
Reports calculate there are 4,000 attempted attacks on law firms every day with 25% of firms employing 100+ lawyers being the victim of a cyber breach. In addition, 30% of these firms reported a loss of billable hours due to a breach. Data-rich stores, budgetary constraints, and a lack of in-depth cybersecurity expertise combine to make the legal industry a top candidate at risk for a data breach. Another big factor in the cybersecurity landscape of law firms is staying compliant with industry standards in regards to clients’ PII (personally identifiable information). With all the data supporting the likelihood that law firms will fall prey to a cyberattack, it is surprising that less than 50% are insured against data breaches.
*FireEye Threat Landscape: Law Firms
3 - Financial Services
It’s no surprise that financial services are highly susceptible to cyberattacks. They handle so much personal information that is directly related to financial data, it makes them an attractive target to hackers. The private information these companies store can be sold for millions of dollars, and big international banks like J.P. Morgan, Citibank, and Wells Fargo in the United States have invest heavily in protection. But hacking and malware aren’t the only sources of breaches; lost or stolen phones is another way for cybercriminals to gain access to and sell information. With the success of mobile banking, and the steady increase of mobile phone banking users, it is likely that a hacker can easily access private information from cell phones if there is no protection in place. Security Intelligence recommends leveraging IT experts to combat the threat.
4 - Manufacturing
Automotive, electronics, and pharmaceutical companies, are all part of the manufacturing industry. The fact that the manufacturing industry has not been held to a high standard when it comes to security maintenance as compared to others such as healthcare or financial services, renders it more vulnerable to cyberattacks. According to Sickich’s 2019 Manufacturing and Distribution Report, half of companies have fallen victim to at least one data breach in the past twelve months.
*eSentire Manufacturing: Probability of a breach
5 - Insurance Companies
Insurance companies not only house large amounts of their clients’ personal data, they also usually have an abundance of credit card and payment data. These companies, like those in so many other industries, have ridden the internet wave into the technologically advanced age, and now offer their customers channels to conduct much of their business online. On the employee side, being able to remotely access digital information has become the norm. This digital transformation offers great benefits, but the increased convenience comes with a downside: it has also increased the threat level and potential for cyber criminals to more easily breach this information.
Addressing The Issue
Attackers will always be on the lookout for new ways to access your company’s data. One thing is certain: no matter the industry, it is cheaper to invest in protecting data than to bear the cost of recovering from a breach. Despite differences across industries, there are some basic cybersecurity needs that any IT provider should be able to meet, such as:
Comprehensive security solutions for internal and external threats
Data management, backup, and recovery
24/7 customer support
Download our IT and cybersecurity guide to learn about the more specific needs of your industry, and what you should look for in an IT provider who can effectively protect your business and your customers’ personal data.