2018 Overall Cyber Crime Statistics and Tips for 2019


2018 Overall Cyber Crime Statistics and Tips for 2019

Cyber-attacks are continually evolving in sophistication and impact as technology advances, and 2018 was an interesting year in this aspect. Some of the significant breaches included Facebook, the Marriot Hotel Group, and Quora.

According to a survey carried out by the Cyber Security Breaches Survey, 43% of businesses were victims of cybersecurity breach in 2018, with 230,000 new malware being released every day. The evolution of malware attacks in frequency and sophistication poses a significant threat not only to businesses but also to individuals.

We discuss cybersecurity statistics and facts for 2018 and tips on what to expect in 2019.

In 2018, we largely experienced the following cyber-related crimes:

• An increase in crypto mining scams

Crypto mining attacks on coins such as Cryptoloot, Monero, Coinhive, and Jesscoin increased in the course of the last 12 months. According to research, they were more dominant than ransomware, and approximately 42% of businesses across the globe were exposed.

Crypto mining scams were spread through Google Play, messaging systems, social media, infected sites, and personal computers. While crypto-attacks may be deemed as trivial, they should not be ignored. Such attacks are mostly initiated by crypto-miners seeking for a way to mine currency. With more crypto coins being established, we can only expect such attacks to increase in 2019.

• Attacks on multiple platforms

As opposed to targeting one operating system, cybercriminals are finding it more effective to attack multiple systems with a single piece of malware. For example, an advanced persistent threat christened ‘Dark Caracal’ was initially used to attack mobile devices. It then mutated to become a multi-platform attack on different operating systems including Windows, Linux, and Mac. Another example is the Roaming Mantis whose attacks are DNS-hijacking on Android operating systems and phishing in iOS devices.

• A significant rise in malicious mobile applications

According to research, lifestyle apps are the main targets of cybersecurity leaks. Information such as the device’s location, the phone number, and other sensitive information is being leaked to cybercriminals.

• Most cybersecurity threats are from employees

The employees within an organisation remain the primary causes of cybersecurity breaches. Negligent staff or contractors account for 54% of cybersecurity breaches. According to a report tabled by the Ponemon Institute, this figure has increased by up to 6% from the previous year.

Malicious websites and e-mails are the main ways through which cybercriminals target the employees.

•Small and medium-sized business experience more attacks

Small to medium-sized companies or organisations normally have limited cybersecurity resources. This makes them more susceptible to ransomware and other cybercrimes. According to a survey carried out by Small Business Trends, the percentage of cyber-related crimes on SMEs rose from 15% to 43% between 2011 and 2015.

•Smart home attacks

Smart home devices are the current trend. Majority of such are connected through an external network. As the technology on smart home devices continues to increase, so are the tactics through which cyber-criminals exploit their vulnerabilities.

•The annual cybercrime costs are expected to hit $6 trillion by 2021

As state-sponsored data breach and organised crime are anticipated to increase, so will the profits emanating from cybercrimes. Besides, cyber-criminals are less likely to be caught and are seldom punished for their wrongs. Cybercrime will become more lucrative and appealing to potential as well as current perpetrators.

• An evolution in cloud attacks

While more businesses adopt cloud storage options, criminals are also developing tools to use against the said technology. Most of the cloud attacks have been as a result of the use of poor passwords, ineffective security practices, and instances where data exfiltration software is accidentally installed. Cybercriminals are mostly tapping into publicly available cloud services to identify weaknesses that they can exploit later. The increased attacks on Office 365 recently are a befitting example.

• The healthcare industry has the highest number of attacks

The healthcare industry experienced the highest number of attacks compared to other industries, with the figure being expected to quadruple by 2020 according to CSO Online.

What should be done in 2019?

While cybercrime increases, experts claim that businesses can reinforce their cybersecurity through basic measures that include:

1.Adopting a proactive rather than a reactive approach

As opposed to taking an ‘if’ stance when it comes to cyber-attacks, organisations should adopt a ‘when’ approach. In this way, the organisation can implement measures that are able to detect existing threats, pre-empt potential threats, and respond to them before they are executed. You can also prevent cybercrime through the installation of VPN’s. However, be careful about using free proxies or VPN’s.

2.Educate the personnel on cybersecurity

As stated, cybercriminals mostly exploit the workforce’s ignorance. Sealing this loophole could help avoid most of the security breaches. Apart from emphasising on the need for a strong password, consider other security practices such as:-

  • Changing existing passwords regularly

  • Having different passwords for different departments, services, or accounts

  • The use of additional authentication apart from passwords when accessing accounts

  • Educating the employees on the need to be wary of emails from unknown or unverified sources.

3.Continually updating the operating system

While this may sound basic, continually updating your operating system makes your computer less vulnerable to attacks.

  1. Use of secure wireless networks

Use Wi-Fi systems with encrypted passwords. Although it is safe to use such when carrying out transactions, avoid giving out personal information online.

Understanding the current state of cybersecurity makes it easier for businesses and organisations to protect themselves. While such are aware of the cyber-threats they are exposed to, the statistics above show that they are still failing to protect themselves due to the advanced nature of the attacks.