Exploring which industries have the most cyberattacks can give your business insight into implementing the right security features and strategies to protect your information. Here are six industries that remain the most vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Educational institutions, such as universities, community colleges, or online education services, have increased their use of online programs, lessons, and technology to store sensitive student information. Today's educational platforms hold essential information such as student ID numbers, financial information, social security numbers or other personal details.
With the addition of new technology, many schools have become vulnerable to attacks or hackers. According to Microsoft Security Intelligence, over 80% of reported malware encounters come from the educational industry. Malware produces harmful files or programs that target computers and online users.
Some common cyberattacks on educational institutions include the following:
- Ransomware - Software that blocks the user from accessing their own data
- Trojans - Malware designed to trick users through false intentions
- Spyware- Software that gathers confidential information from one organization and sends it to another
- Adware- Software that displays or downloads unwanted advertisements
Most malware attacks consist of spam or harmful advertisements. Education programs must work hard to prevent potential shutdowns from affecting students.
Educational companies and institutions must comply with U.S. FERPA regulations when protecting student data. Colleges and universities that intend to store student health information must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA).
Finance companies are one of the most vulnerable industries to server and data attacks. Protecting clients' sensitive banking and personal information is a major concern for institutions like:
- Credit unions
- Investment firms
- Tax service companies
- Financial payment processors like PayPal, Google Pay, or Venmo
Being in an at-risk industry means that finance companies must work hard to protect sensitive files. Hackers use codes and software to attack servers and try to steal personal information or financial data. With the recent addition of mobile banking applications and programs, more institutions are open to hacking than ever before.
The most common forms of financial cyberattacks include the following:
- Trojans: Many hackers create a false login page similar to the app's online login page. When clients enter their usernames and password, the hacker can steal their information and obtain financial data.
- Fake apps: Some hackers may create fake applications to lure customers unaware of false apps.
It's essential for businesses that often handle client financial information to follow regulations and requirements closely. While those rules may vary depending on the state or country, the priority of protecting data remains the same. Companies should also ensure their employees remain trained and knowledgeable about network-level security and important policies.
Governmental companies and industries make it a priority to protect their information and data from dangerous high-level hacking attempts and attacks. Many areas within the government contain or manage sensitive information that could result in catastrophic damages if leaked or stolen. Federal government agencies must employ cybersecurity experts at every level to ensure professional safety.
The higher the government level, the stricter the rules and regulations. Most of the cyberattacks against government agencies consist of ransomware attacks in an attempt to steal personal identification information or confidential data.
Training government employees is essential to creating security from the ground up. Due to tight regulations and changing restrictions, many government agencies have begun to audit their technology usage and ensure strict adherence to rules.
Healthcare companies contain a large amount of sensitive patient information, including their:
- Medical records
- Finances and billing information
- Medications and prescriptions
- Insurance information
- Substance usage records.
Securing information that passes through electronic health records (EHR) systems is critical to protect patients' health, safety, and information and save the healthcare provider time and money. While an EHR's internal network can offer extra security, it still needs protection from potential attacks.
Additionally, all healthcare companies must adhere to HIPPA rules and regulations. HIPAA protects patient confidentiality and ensures companies strive to keep patient information secure.
It can be challenging for companies with factories or on-site facilities to protect their new technology from cyberattacks. Many manufacturing industries are still making updates to newer and safer technology. Despite these upgrades, many manufacturing technologies lack support and contain security vulnerabilities.
Protecting industry software and information from potential breaches and attacks is essential. Depending on the sector, manufacturers must comply with certain laws, standards, requirements, or regulations regarding:
- Transferring credit card data
- Exporting and importing defense articles
- Collecting consumer information
- Reporting cybersecurity gaps
6. Energy and Utilities
Energy and utility companies may also experience ransomware attacks or hacking attempts. While often overlooked, these companies must work hard to protect essential services like water, electricity, and sewage. For example, in 2021, hackers attacked the Colonial pipeline — the largest fuel line in the United States — leading to many gas shortages across America.
The energy and utility industries have become a high priority for hackers and malicious threats, so protecting and securing information has become more important than ever. Any energy companies that receive threats or have information stolen or tampered with could result in a national security issue. Real-time hacks could cause water units to shut down, power companies to shut off, and homes and businesses to experience a loss of essential amenities.
Many energy companies must follow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's rules and regulations. Due to heavy restrictions, any energy or utility companies that could be subject to attacks must comply with laws and audits.
Protect Your Company With Help From ProCircular
At ProCircular, our company provides at-risk industries with cybersecurity services and safety features. As a cybersecurity and compliance firm, we want to help you protect your business from hackers and threats while meeting industry regulations and requirements. We can provide you with resources to protect your sensitive information and employees, whether you work in the finance, health care or government industry.