Many industries are vulnerable to cyber-attack, but some are more vulnerable than others due to the sheer nature of their business. Typically, any industry could be subject to a data breach but most at risk are those who with potential profitability for would be attackers. The purpose of hacking is the exchange of money for data leakage. Another potential threat is the ability of hackers to sell information via the Dark Web. Even benign information may be of value to hackers and the industries that are most vulnerable are those that are closely related to people’s daily lives are most vulnerable. Below are some of the most vulnerable industries for data breach.
Financial Institutions and Banks – financial institutions and banks are particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches because hackers can gain access to credit card information, bank account information, etc. and this can result in money takeovers.
Hospitals – hospitals are vulnerable and it is reported that they are one of the most vulnerable industries because many hospitals lack the funding necessary to protect their data. At risk are medical records, medicines, surgery orders, and blood, organs and other biological material. Electronic health records are one of the most vulnerable for hacks.
Schools and Universities – what makes schools vulnerable is the lack of cyber security at most educational institutions. Data is data and cyber criminals will strike anywhere they think they can be successful at acquiring information. Schools tend to keep most of their information publicly available, specifically about the people they employ, with online access to email addresses and other information about school faculty. This makes schools prime targets for phishing schemes.
Retailers – Retailers are especially vulnerable because they collect a data through a variety of sources, from point of sale machines to tap to pay terminals to beacon terminals, securing customer’s personal information can be quite challenging for retailers. The massive amount of data to protect across multiple endpoints is no easy task.
Government – Government, including local, state and federal government are especially vulnerable because they employ in house IT professionals who may get rotated into unrelated jobs. Government organizations typically struggle with malware infections, network security and software patching. It is especially important for government agencies to hire independent, outside experts who can assess their security problems and recommend solutions.
Media – The most common types of reported attacks for media organizations was cyber-attack involving phishing and malware. Most media sites are targets for political purposes. Cyber-attacks including SQL injection, ransomware and hacking of mobile sites and social media channels.
Manufacturing – More and more manufacturing organizations are at risk for cyber-attack due to their lack of security, such as authentication and encription. For instance, according to a report by Sikich, only 33% of manufacturers surveyed perform annual penetration testing. Cyber attacks can cause manufacturing disruptions, leading to defective products, production downtime, physical damage or even threaten lives.
Energy – The infrastructure that includes utilities, refineries, military defense systems, water treatment plants and other facilities are very vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Since these organizations have replaced analog controls with digital systems, they have become more efficient and productive, but also more vulnerable because cyber attackers can get into control system networks and steal sensitive information, disrupt processes and cause damage to equipment.
It can be seen that many organizations are at risk for cyber-attack. There really are no industries out there that are immune and in many cases, experts recommend that these organizations outsource their IT monitoring and security to ensure that even with changes in personnel or technology they keep their systems protected and lower the risk of a cyber-attack.