They are getting smarter, bolder and more sophisticated. They are the lords of the dark web – attacking and stealing the online booty. The world is increasingly falling prey to cyber terrorists who are breaching global databases, holding organizations at ransom and even bringing governments to a standstill.
With so much data being collected and stored every year, it is inevitable that breaches would be on a rise. But 2017 saw enormous figures as countries grappled with more data breaches than any year prior to that. To make matters worse, most of the information exposed was of a personally identifiable nature.
India is no stranger to data breaches. In fact, it has been consistently featuring in the top 10 worst-hit countries for various cyber attacks. From huge businesses to individuals, hackers have been striking with increasing frequency and intensity causing huge losses and risks. Like everyone else, India also witnessed data breaches on a mammoth scale last year- a whopping 786% jump over the previous year.
Some 3.24 million records were compromised – stolen, lost or exposed – in 2017. There were 29 recorded incidents of data breaches in India, fifth highest in the world
By the governments own admission, there were over 27000 cybersecurity threat incidents in the first half of 2017 alone. These included a range of threats including phishing attacks, website intrusions, defacement or damages to data besides ransomware attacks.
Overall, over 22,000 India websites including 114 government portals were hacked between April 2017- to Jan 2018
Ransomware attacks continued to be major threat last year. According to one leading global cybersecurity firm, Indian businesses are the top victims of ransomware attacks with 67% organizations already hit by it, 38% twice. The global average of attacked companies is 54%.
Breaching the Global Breach
Globally, nearly 10 billion records have been lost, stolen or exposed since 2013, with close to 5 million records compromised every day. The US leads the count, accounting for a massive 64% of the total breached data.
Following behind are India and China taking the second and third spot respectively. Both the Asian countries have become major hot spots for data breaches due to their huge population and rising global status.
The jostle for power among nations has also alleviated the threat of outsider breach for most countries including India.
External threats often include unscrupulous competitors, state-sponsored actors, organized crime groups etc whose motives usually are cyber espionage, cyber warfare and hacktivism.
2017 saw over 2 million data being compromised globally with North America making up 86% of total data breaches. Both Europe and Asia Pacific accounted for 6% each
Healthcare as an industry saw maximum breaches globally last year followed by financial services, education, retail and government. Social media, non-profit and insurance sectors saw the least number of intrusions.
Most companies become victims of cyber attacks either due to unpatched software with vulnerabilities or because of human factors like people getting duped by phishing emails. In many cases, businesses don’t even realize they’ve been breached until a large cache of their stolen data is found on the Dark Web.
The increasing level of data breaches is now forcing governments and businesses to focus extensively on cybersecurity. According to one forecast, more than 60 percent of organizations globally will invest in multiple data security tools by 2020 — up from 35 percent today.
While the immediate financial implication of data breach is huge, there are other hidden costs like the loss in business and recovery process involving time, money and manpower which scales up the damage. Not forgetting the trust and privacy violation of their huge customer base.
With so much at stake, it is only wise to stay one step ahead of the cybercriminals.
It’s time for organizations to pull up their socks and secure the breach