2016 saw cyber security move from being an important issue to becoming a critical one. Tesco Bank, Dropbox, LinkedIn, and Verizon were just some of the high-profile security breaches this year, with the far-reaching impact of the Yahoo breach also grabbing the headlines in 2016.
Let's have a look back at the cyber security trends of the past twelve months.
Rise of Ransomware
Ransomware has been one of the biggest threats in 2016 with businesses, hospitals and universities as main targets. The impact of ransomware was underlined by Malwarebytes latest report which shows that one in five businesses hit by ransomware are forced to close, while one in three business being found clueless about ransomware, having no idea what ransomware is or how devastating the malware can be.
Upward trend of DDoS
DDoS attacks are not new, but attackers have been exploring new techniques for delivering more powerful attacks over longer periods. In October, a massive DDoS attack on an Internet infrastructure company called Dyn affected high-profile websites like Etsy, Github, Spotify and Twitter, which suffered service interruptions or went offline altogether. the attack proved just how easily attackers can leverage insecure IoT devices.
Financial sector need to take cyber security more seriously
The banking sector is still one of the most highly targeted by cyber criminals. Secure messaging firm Swift warned that an undisclosed number of banks had been targeted and some had lost money in a new wave of cyber thefts, while in November Tesco Bank has temporarily suspended online banking operations after thousands of customers were affected by hacker fraud. Worldwide institutions called on financial sector to share more cyber attack information amid growing concern about the sector’s vulnerability, with the Group of Seven industrial powers agreeing on a specific set of cybersecurity guidelines.
No One Is Immune from an Attack
In 2016 some of the world's biggest companies, such as Yahoo and Twitter, endured large-scale cyber attacks, although several studies shows that any size of organisation is likely to be targeted, so no-one is immune.
Research by the Federation of Small Businesses in the UK in 2016 found that two out of three small firms had been victims of cybercrime in the previous two years. According to the FSB, the financial costs suffered by small firms from an attack are “disproportionately bigger” than larger firms.
One of the biggest lessons to take from the year is that no business is immune from cyber threats – and the risk to business survival is higher the smaller the company is.