It has brought in phenomenal efficiencies, speed and agility for businesses to thrive. It has provided an extraordinary level of accessibility, connectivity, ease and comfort to everyday individuals in a way we have never seen in human history.
But this impressive gift to humanity has also created a dark underworld, providing fraudsters and criminals new tools and ammunition to survive and thrive in the new digital environment. And protecting yourself from these imminent dangers has become more critical than ever before.
Background checks and reverse email lookups have grown in prominence as more people worry about the protection of their identity and important personal data. Data security, in particular, has gained significant attention as we migrate the storage of our wealth from physical vaults to digital ones, and increasingly connect important information across digital platforms from banking to shopping.
Understanding this new digital environment to protect yourself as well as to better take advantage of its many benefits as well as the opportunities it holds, is both timely and prudent.
So, here are 10 important facts about data security and cyberattacks for you to indulge in.
- 1 1. Phishing Attacks have increased by 250% in 2019
- 2 2. Email addresses and passwords are the most targeted by cyberattacks
- 3 3. North America claims the highest number of data breaches
- 4 4. $124 billion spent on cybersecurity
- 5 5. Cybercrime has affected 1 in 4 Americans
- 6 6. Data fraud/theft and cyberattacks ranked among the top 10 global risks
- 7 7. Social media was the biggest contributor to data theft
- 8 8. Microsoft Office files contribute to 48% of malicious email attachments
- 9 9. Rogue mobile phone apps responsible for 29 percent of online attacks
- 10 10. Online shopping fraud has grown by 30% in the US
This is a staggering increase in phishing attacks, which usually involves manipulating and deceiving victims into disclosing confidential personal data such as passwords and bank details.
Experts warn to be cautious of any requests for sensitive details especially through emails, which are commonly used for these kind of attacks that would usually impersonate a person known to you.
2. Email addresses and passwords are the most targeted by cyberattacks
According to a 2019 report by Risk Based Security, an estimated 70% of cyberattacks involved email addresses and 64% were targeting passwords, followed by social security numbers and credit card numbers.
This is especially concerning since most of our online activities – from social media to online shopping – are connected through email addresses. Having strong passwords and regularly changing them are recommended by experts as precautionary steps. Any suspicious requests should be verified using online screening tools such as Nuwber, which allows you to cross-check email addresses with reverse email lookups.
While this could be due to many reasons such as a high concentration of population and wealth, it’s still alarming to find that more cyberattacks are aimed towards this region as it leaves us exposed to more danger.
According to reports, an estimated 4.1 billion records were exposed in just during the first half of 2019 and data breaches are estimated to cost over $150 million by 2020.
Spending on cybersecurity is increasing and it’s expected to reach $124 billion in 2019. That is a staggering 141 percent increase compared to 2010. With technology integrated into our lives at an increasing speed, it should not come as a surprise that protecting and safeguarding our digital environment has become a top priority for both organizations and individuals.
Gallup’s Annual Crime Survey reports that 23% of Americans claim to have experienced some form of cybercrime either by them or a family member. This is an alarming statistic that shows the reality of increasing crime rates in our digital world.
More people are taking note of their digital safety and security, with cybercrime being a top concern for over 70% of Americans and identity theft being a cause of worry for 67%.
6. Data fraud/theft and cyberattacks ranked among the top 10 global risks
The Global Risks Report 2019 of the World Economic Forum ranks data fraud and theft, and massive cyber-attacks as the fourth and fifth largest risks by likelihood facing the global population.
This warns of the very real and growing threats lurking within our cyber environment and the urgent attention required not just by lawmakers, enforcers, mediators and others tasked with safeguarding our interests, but also by the active players within this environment – from corporates to individual users.
Gemalto’s Breach Level Index reports that 56% of data records breached in 2018 were through social media. This doesn’t come as a surprise when you read the news. The latest data breach on Facebook that was reported in September this year, had compromised an estimated 419 million records including user ID’s and phone numbers.
This is why experts warn users to take caution not to share sensitive or incriminating personal information on social media platforms.
This is the data reported in a Symantec Internet Security Report in February this year. With Microsoft Office packages being popular among millions of users across the world, this becomes an important fact to keep in mind the next time you download and open an email attachment.
The FireEye Email Threat Update reports that Microsoft is the most popular brand used for phishing attacks, which doesn’t come as a surprise considering its high usage.
According to RSA’s Fraud and Risk Intelligence team, the use of mobile phone apps by cybercriminals is on the rise at an alarming rate and the use of fraudulent banking apps has almost trebled during the first half of 2019.
Mobile apps, especially those representing retail banks have grown in popularity due to the ease, speed and convenience they offer consumers. However, your data may be compromised in ways you cannot even imagine with cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated with the help of advanced technology, making it easier for them to impersonate your trusted service providers.
10. Online shopping fraud has grown by 30% in the US
A 2018 Experian report shows a staggering 30% year-on-year increase in fraud related to e-commerce – an industry that has shown phenomenal growth in the recent decade. It also reported a 34% increase in billing fraud related to online shopping.
People are increasingly turning to e-commerce platforms for their daily needs, from shopping and travel to healthcare. Experts recommend that consumers take precautionary measures before divulging personal data and banking details on these websites.