Cyber security should be a top priority for all businesses, regardless of their size or what industry they operate in. Leaving yourself open to the threat of cyber-attacks and data breaches isn’t a risk worth taking.
However, there are always going to be certain industries that cyber-criminals and hackers seem to target more than others. It used to be the case that banks and financial service providers were the most popular targets for hackers, but this is no longer the case.
According to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, cyber-criminals have shifted their focus over the past 12 months, with the healthcare industry climbing to the top spot for industries experiencing the highest rate of cyber-attacks.
According to the report, which is based on data collected throughout 2015 from more than 8,000 network devices in over 100 countries, the five industries that experienced the highest rates of hacking in 2015 were the following:
Despite not featuring in the top five ranking for 2014, healthcare took the number one spot in 2015. This was down to the fact that over 100 million healthcare records were reportedly compromised in 2015. The report goes on to add that five of the eight largest healthcare security breaches since the beginning of 2010—those with more than one million records reportedly compromised—took place during the first six months of 2015.
The manufacturing sector, which covers automotive, electronics, textile and pharmaceutical companies, came in second place, up from third in 2014. Out of this sector, it was automotive manufacturers which were the prime target, making up 30% of the total cyber-attacks against the manufacturing industry, followed by chemical manufacturers.
3) Financial services
2015 saw financial services drop from the number one spot down to third place. This was partly due to the significant increase in the number of cyber-attacks targeted at the healthcare and manufacturing sectors. However, recent years have seen banks and financial service providers make a more conscious effort to improve their cyber-security in reaction to major breaches.
4) Government agencies
Government agencies were the next most popular cyber-attack target, due to a number of high-profile security breaches in 2015. One such attack in the US saw millions of employee records exposed, including social security numbers, places of birth and even digitised fingerprints. Another high-profile case was seen in Turkey, where over 50 million citizens were put at risk of identity theft after their national identity information was leaked from a government database.
Coming in at fifth place was transportation, which includes airlines, public transportation, commercial freight lines, overseas container ships and more. According to IBM’s report, politically motivated cyber-criminals target the transportation industry to produce mass chaos scenarios, while others are motivated purely by financial gain.
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