Cyber security is an important issue in our connected world, and the threat of cyber crime is one that must be taken seriously. Given the risks of falling victim to cyber crime, such as confidential data being leaked or financial losses, it’s vital to stay in the know about the issue in order to protect yourself and your company online.
Think you already know everything about cyber security? Keep reading for 5 facts about cyber security that might surprise you.
1. The first cyber attack happened in 1834
Cyber crime has been happening long before the invention of computers and smartphones. In 1834, two French brothers, François and Joseph Blanc, hacked France’s telegraph system to steal financial market information. With the help of telegraph operators they had hired as accomplices, they were able to gain an advantage over other traders by receiving the market information sooner.
The operation went on for two years before being uncovered in 1836, when one of the telegraph operators fell ill and confessed the scheme to a friend. Although the brothers were put on trial, they couldn’t be convicted because there were no laws about the misuse of data networks at the time. Although these events took place almost 200 years ago, they have since come to be regarded as the first case of cyber crime in recorded history.
2. A cyber attack happens every 39 seconds
Cyber crime is happening 24 hours a day across the world, with some researchers estimating that a cyber attack happens every 39 seconds. One of the most frequent methods criminals use to commit these attacks is through phishing emails, which is the practise of posing as a legitimate company to send fraudulent emails and gain access to the victim’s personal information, such as their online passwords and bank details.
The cyber security company Cofense reports that in 2017, 91% of cyber attacks began with a phishing email. There has also been an increase in cybercrime in the last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with PurpleSec reporting an increase of around 600%. Malicious actors have posed as health officials from local health authorities or from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in an attempt to deceive their victims.
3. Cybercrime costs the UK around £27 billion a year
You read that right – cyber attacks cost the UK an eye-watering figure of around £27 billion a year. This includes a cost of £3.1 billion to UK citizens, who can fall victim to online scams and identity theft, £2.2 billion to the government, and £21 billion to businesses. These figures come from a report carried out by Detica in collaboration with the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance.
However, the financial cost is only one part of the issue. Being a victim of cyber crime can cause stress and anxiety, and can take years to recover from. On an organisational level, suffering a cyber attack can damage a company’s reputation, particularly if customer information is stolen or put at risk. The biggest data breach in history was suffered by Yahoo, which suffered from an attack in 2013 that had an impact on 3 billion user accounts.
4. 85% of breaches are caused by human error
According to research from Verizon, around 85% of cyber security breaches are caused by human error. This includes things such as leaving systems or accounts unlocked, and using weak passwords across multiple devices.
Many cyber attacks can be easily prevented with training and diligence. Many businesses that have access to sensitive information now carry out basic cyber security training when inducting new staff, and regularly refreshing your knowledge of what current cyber threats are and how to avoid them can go a long way in keeping your employees, customers, and business safe.
Want to find out more ways to keep your business cyber secure? Check out our article here with 10 easy steps you can take to help protect yourself and your company online.
5. 1 in 2 UK businesses have a cyber skills gap
Research from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has found that 50% of private sector businesses in the UK report having a basic cyber security skills gap and a lack of confidence in performing basic cyber security tasks. In addition, more than a third of businesses (33%) have a more advanced technical skills gap, in areas such as penetration testing, forensic analysis, security architecture or engineering, threat intelligence, interpreting malicious code and user monitoring. These shocking statistics show that a great number of UK businesses are at risk of falling victim to cyber crime.
At IT Career Swap, our students receive an average of 3 job interview offers each upon finishing their studies, which proves that cyber security professionals are in need across a range of industries. We hope that you have learned something from these interesting facts, and that you now know why cyber security is so important.