But in 2014, there seem to be more and more threats against our security and safety on a daily basis – at least when it comes to online and internet matters.
Yes, in matters of “cyber security,” and when it comes to cyber security market trends, all of us online – which is pretty much everyone in America now – have a good bit to be concerned about.
From the recent high-profile breach against popular retailer Target and its millions of customers to an array of less-publicized hacker attacks on all kinds of organizations, cyber security is a hot topic today.
And according to a recent cyber security trends and cyber security analysis report from worldwide networking leader Cisco, more and more of these breaches and costly “hack attacks” are happening due to a lack of skilled cyber security professionals.
The Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report was the result of months of collaboration between “threat researchers” and other cyber security experts at Cisco and network security provider Sourcefire (which Cisco acquired for $2.7 billion this past summer). According to the company itself, the report provides a “warts-and-all analysis” of cyber security news and cyber security trends from 2013, along with Cisco’s perspective for the year ahead – based on hard data collected via Cisco and Sourcefire cyber security products and then analyzed by their researchers.
According to the report, “overall vulnerabilities and threats” reached their highest levels since Cisco began tracking online attacks and security breaches through its Cisco Security Intelligence Operations back in May 2000. As of October 2013, cumulative annual alert totals increased 14 percent year-over-year from 2012. The report also demonstrated that DDoS attacks have increased in volume and severity, and mobile “malware” (shore for “malicious software”) also surged in availability and popularity in 2013. Nearly all of mobile malware (some 99 percent) targeted Android-powered mobile devices.
The report also revealed that organizations are struggling to monitor and secure networks today largely because of a worldwide shortage of skilled cyber security professionals. According to Cisco’s estimates, that shortage is quite substantial – as in a lack of nearly 1 million qualified and competent professionals.
The report also claims that the sophistication of cyber attacks has now outpaced the ability of IT and security professionals to address these ever-evolving and escalating attacks. Most companies and organizations today simply don’t have adequate systems or people in place to proactively detect network infiltrations – or to effectively neutralize attacks and breaches once they have already begun.
Take the Target attack, for example. A cyber security failure and public relations disaster on an epic scale, it is estimated to have impacted a staggering 100 million Target customers during the bustling 2013 Holiday season. And it was all initiated by underground “malware,” some of which law enforcement authorities have declared “new to e-crime.”
Target isn’t the only big-name retailer recently rocked by a costly and embarrassing cyber security breach, either. Luxury merchant Neiman Marcus also suffered a Holiday hack attack. The thieves stole an undisclosed number of Neiman Marcus customers’ payment card information, then used that information to make an array of unauthorized charges. Not exactly the kind of Holiday gifting the violated Neiman Marcus customers were looking to accomplish, one must assume. And certainly not something that will endear the brand to its shoppers.
Of course, these are just two examples of recent breaches and hacker attacks that have cost two very large companies untold amounts of customers, resources, dollars, man hours, energy and overall brand trust and strength.
While large-scale attacks on big-name brands garner serious press coverage, cyber security breaches and data theft against small businesses go largely unreported. That doesn’t mean they don’t occur, however.
The bottom line is that in today’s day and age, you simply can’t afford to cut corners when it comes to hiring and employing quality, qualified, professional and proactive IT professionals. We’ve spoken before about the importance of data security on the Be Different Solutions blog, but it bears repeating:
When it comes to data privacy and cyber security, anything can happen just about anywhere, at anytime. But the more variables you can eliminate from the equation, and the more confident you can feel in the quality of the people, companies and cultures involved – the better off for both your business and your customers. Drop us a line at Be Different Solutions today, and we’ll show you how to make sure your cyber security is truly a top priority.