Top Eight Most Vulnerable Industries for Cyber Attack

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 the top eight most vulnerable industries for cyber attack.

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.

Financial institutions have to stay up to date with the newest in payment trends and technologies in order to offer their customers the best security and services available. We offer scalable functionality and high throughput, with processing rates of up to 10,000 transactions per second in a single device. Financial institutions can rest easy knowing their core cryptographic infrastructure will always be cutting edge.

Compliance is also a vital factor when choosing a data security provider. At Techgardens, we are experienced with all major industry standards, including PCI DSS, FIPS 140- Level 3, and PCI HSM. The products we implement are validated as Secure Cryptographic Devices (SCD) that promote robust security through tampering responsiveness, reinforced chassis, dual bezel locks and logical restrictions such as role-based permissions and dual control.

Our products integrate with many different technologies and functionalities to provide convenience and security for our customers, including but not limited to:

  • EMV
  • P2PE
  • Tokenization
  • Public Key Infrastructure
  • Monitoring and alert capabilities
  • Centralized management
  • Disaster recovery
  • ATM Remote Key Loading

Healthcare – In addition to protecting our health and well-being, healthcare organizations are also responsible for safeguarding our sensitive information. These organizations are repositories for private health records containing not just information such as medical histories, prescriptions, and prognoses, but also Personally Identifiable Information like names, addresses, Social Security Numbers, billing information, and insurance claims.

Healthcare organizations are high-value targets for criminals and fraudsters who wish to gain access to this data for their own gain. Beyond maintaining patient data confidentially, encryption solutions are a necessity for meeting compliance due to regulations such as HIPAA and the HITECH Act, which mandate the encryption of protected health information (PHI).

We work together with proprietary vendors to provide healthcare institutions with the security, accessibility, and reliability they need to manage a complete cryptographic encryption infrastructure. Using cutting-edge key management encryption technology, healthcare IT systems can protect and secure sensitive data in a number of ways, including:

  • Secure storage of electronic health records
  • Verification of clinical research data
  • Protected transfer of medical information, patient records and claims activity

Schools and Universities – Educational institutions of all types, from independent school districts to colleges, collect vast quantities of information: recruitment and enrollment data, academic research, financial records, and Personally Identifiable information in the form of names, addresses and billing information. This information is highly valuable to the institution as well as to those who would access that data without authorization.

To protect against data breaches, regulations such as FERPA and PCI DSS have mandated a priority on securing sensitive information controlled by educational bodies. Hardware-based data encryption is a reliable means of preventing the breaches and attacks that can result from improperly secured data, as well as an important tool in creating an accessible and secure data infrastructure. Privacy and security regulations that are imposed on academic institutions require that data be kept safe as well as accessible should records be requested for review or modification. This accessibility is available through hardware-based data encryption, along with an unparalleled degree of security.

Hardware-based data encryption offers a multitude of advantages, such as purpose built physical, logical, and encryption-based security, tamper resistance and responsiveness, disaster recovery and redundancy and more. The degree of security that accompanies hardware-based data encryption solution is unrivaled, providing all academic institutions with data encryption solutions that are impervious to both human interference and natural disaster.

We work together with our proprietary vendors to offer technology that is versatile, compliant, and scalable enough to protect sensitive data for the academic institution. The following are just a few ways we can secure your infrastructure at the source.

  • Secure Records Storage
  • Protection of Research Data
  • Prepaid and Identification Cards Issuance

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.

Retailers have a serious responsibility to protect the cardholder data of their customers, but this task must be balanced with the ability to offer their customers with convenient and innovative payment options. We provide the best of both worlds, with hardened security solutions that make it easy to process payment transactions and store customer data safely. The devices we implement are all FIPS 140-2 Level 3-validated Secure Cryptographic Devices (SCD), providing security through physical measures such as reinforced steel chassis, dual bezel locks, and tamper-responsive wires that instantly zeroize sensitive data in the event of a physical intrusion attempt.

The physical security features of our devices are combined with logical restrictions to provide a truly secure solution. Dual control and a role-based user system protect your retail environment from insider threats, with permissions able to be allocated according to the principle of least privilege. Every action, both for internal device configuration and external data processing, is logged in secure and exportable audit logs, simplifying the audit process.

For enterprise-level retailers, it can be difficult to establish a core cryptographic infrastructure able to seamlessly incorporate new changes due to growth. As store expansion occurs, higher processing speeds, more storage capacity, stronger monitoring and alerting, and innovative technologies all need to be integrated rapidly and with zero downtime. Our security platform offers retailers this flexibility and reliability, with a Base Architecture Model that allows for vertical and horizontal scalability and easy updates to entire networks of devices.

Together with our proprietary vendors, we offer an expansive solution suite for retailers that provides data security every step of the way, providing a total solution for data, keys, and certificates across their entire lifecycles from generation to end of life.

For the individual payment terminals found in every retail store, we provide the key algorithms, protocols, and common technologies needed to secure every kind of payment. EMV, DUKPT, Triple DES, AES, Master/Session, and more.

At the device management level, we provide intelligent monitoring of vital system parameters, potential problems such as exhaustive PIN attacks, overall infrastructure health, and more. A customizable and automated alerting system keeps your systems administrators aware of any issues before they escalate.

Government & Defense– 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.

To ensure public trust and national security, government agencies need advanced, comprehensive data encryption solutions capable of scalability and rapid deployment. Our security technology for government and defense provides innovative and secure solutions tailored to addressing government concerns across land, sea, air, and space. With built-in redundancy and robust physical and logical security, our solution suite offers government agencies the assurance they need that the sensitive data of their citizens will be fully protected across endpoints.

Our centralized data management systems provide secure access to data across multiple government institutions, no matter the geographical location. For administrators of distributed cryptographic infrastructures with multiple security servers, management tasks often represent a substantial challenge. Our centralized management platform enables intelligent configuration, monitoring, alerting, resource allocation, and load balancing. This industry-first solution allows for centralized distribution of software updates and replication of keys, certificates, and cryptographic objects across all devices.

Government regulations form the backbone for the accepted practices surrounding the security of sensitive information and data management systems. The need for standards regarding the transmission and storage of sensitive data has led to a number of regulations and legislation that aid government agencies in ensuring that proper defenses and practices are put in place to keep information safe.

Because government agencies are so diverse, they need a wide range of functionality. Together with our proprietary vendors, we are able to provide a single-source solution to government agencies for key and certificate management, data encryption, centralized data management, disaster recovery, secure storage, and more. With support for all common key algorithms and protocols as well as a commitment to any future technological innovations, government agencies can rest assured their cryptographic infrastructures are secure both now and in the future.

Corporations – A strong, secure data infrastructure is essential for the health of any corporation. A corporation’s data is all-inclusive: product concepts, intellectual property, marketing strategies, client and employee databases, contract deals, client pitches, and more. As such, protecting this data from both internal and external threats is protecting the health of the organization.

The Internet connects employees, customers, and individuals from across the globe, making it possible for electronic data to be multiple places as once. Without encryption, criminals, hacktivists, and competitors can both eavesdrop and steal information from hundreds of miles away. Cryptography takes the confidence placed in physical security and brings it to the electronic world. It determines the authenticity and credibility of shared information and secures access to stored data.

Information management is critical for corporations and businesses because data breaches occur regardless of industry. The high value and central repository of information databases makes the theft of corporate data both an effective and lucrative business.

Corporations are in a competitive marketplace where product research, product testing, product maps, source code, and contract planning is among the most confidential information within an organization. This information assures the current and future successes of the organization. Likewise, governing bodies and regulatory organizations require businesses and corporations to retain financial and employee data for investigatory purposes, tax inquiries, and legal protection-among other reasons.

Our storage solutions provide full redundancy, automatic fail over, hard drive replication, as well as quick, secure access to information. Our storage solutions encrypt intellectual property and data. It encrypts mission critical information in a FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validated cryptographic module so that if hackers attempt to steal information, the data would be illegible. Even if the device is physically stolen or compromised, engineered logical and physical security prevents access to cryptographic keys.

Corporations rely on electronic communication between employees and clients, and that information often involves sensitive data. In order to ensure that data is only accessible by authorized individuals, the most secure solution is a public key infrastructure (PKI). PKI is a technology involving asymmetric encryption, in which certificates comprised of public and private keys are used for both the encryption and decryption of information.

DNSSEC, digital signatures, and secure object signing utilize a PKI to protect the integrity and confidentiality of inner-office communication and communication with current and future clients. Digital signatures provide non-repudiation and time-stamping for contracts, emails, and secure communication while object signing ensures the authorized transmission of data between two endpoints. Information would only be shared only when the devices are mutually authenticated by a signed certificate. An outside source, attempting to manipulate data in transit, or access confidential information, would be denied.

Manufacturing – More and more manufacturing organizations are at risk for cyber-attack due to their lack of security, such as authentication and encryption. For instance, according to a report by Sikich, only 33% of manufacturers surveyed perform annual penetration testing. Cyberattacks can cause manufacturing disruptions, leading to defective products, production downtime, physical damage or even threaten lives.

From ATMs to smart cars, electronic devices need to be secured using strong encryption and authentication. Our suite of manufacturer-class products provides electronic device manufacturers with the resources they need to secure their entire infrastructure: initial loading of keys and certificates during manufacturing, remotely loading keys into units already deployed in the field, and securely disposing or revoking keys and certificates at end of life. This cradle to grave key management functionality ensures manufacturers maintain total security during every aspect of their business dealings, from beginning to end.

The manufacturer solution suite is designed to integrate into your data management system with ease, supplying one complete package for handling all the processes necessary to establish a secure, authenticated network of devices. The scalability of these devices makes them ideal for large-scale IoT manufacturing ventures, with the capability to perform bulk operations for keys and certificates.

Signing individual objects such as code or documents, establishing TLS connections across a network of devices, or encrypting traffic between endpoints — whatever your business has planned, the versatility of these manufacturer devices satisfies any functional requirements for cryptographic operations. With support for different key distribution protocols, you won’t have to worry about reconfiguring devices to push or pull keys.

Wearable devices, ATMs, power grids, smart cars, Point of Sale terminals, mobile devices, smart appliances, and more — any device capable of wireless communication needs to have that connection secured to avoid intentional or accidental exposure of data. The two main methods of ensuring secure communication for the Internet of Things are authentication and encryption.

Using our proprietary vendor technology, manufacturers can establish a public key infrastructure (PKI), which will create a mutually authenticated connection for secure communication. They can then encrypt all sensitive data flowing between devices, doubly ensuring security of all information across their system. With the Internet of Things manufacturer-class solution suite, you can create a framework for maintaining a safe and secure environment for your customers.

Utilities  – 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.

The global electrical infrastructure is in the midst of a revolution that will enhance efficiency, introduce sustainability, and redefine the relationship between consumers and energy companies. Made possible by technological advancements as well as third-party and governmental investments, “Smart Grid” technology has already reached implementation stages across the globe—especially in the form of smart meters. Smart meters collect data about end-point usage and feed it back to centralized information processing hubs to be analyzed. This feedback loop allows for the power generation station to adapt their power generation to consumption and for the end-consumer to view usage data.

The improvement in data collection provides many benefits; however, administrative and technological efforts must be altered to ensure the security of this flood of customer energy usage data (CEUD). The CEUD collected by smart meters and appliances, relay information in such detail that everyday activity and habits can be extrapolated from this data. This information combined with personally identifiable information can essentially provide real-time surveillance on households. For this reason, securing this information is of utmost importance.

Smart meters gather information from the consumer endpoint and transmit it to central processing hubs for analysis. Because of their physically unprotected location at the consumer end-point, these devices are vulnerable to tamper. To mitigate this risk, small encryption devices can be used to secure these devices and their information. Additionally, these devices should be signed with a certificate authority server for mutual authentication.

The smart grid functions in part because of the feedback of CEUD from smart meters. This information combined with the personally identifiable information (PII) stored by utility companies provides a high-value target for those wishing to gain access to this information. Because of this, this information needs to be protected in transit and at rest. An end-to-end encryption solution should be used to protect data in transit. For data stored at rest, it should be encrypted.

The power grid consists of many interoperable systems, including power generation stations, transmission lines, distribution lines, energy markets and smart meters at the consumer endpoint. These many interacting systems provide numerous entry points an attacker could exploit. Because of this, it is important to issue certificates to entities communicating in the grid. Certificate issuance, conducted using a certificate authority server, allows entities to create a mutually authenticated environment to verify each other’s identities before secure communication occurs.

Hardware-based data encryption offers a number of advantages: dedicated physical, logical and encryption-based security; tamper resistance and responsiveness; disaster recovery and redundancy. The degree of security that accompanies hardware-based data encryption solutions is unrivaled, providing utilities with data encryption solutions impervious to human interference and natural disaster. For organizations maintaining records in widespread use on a 24x7x365 basis, this reliability is a necessity.

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.

For more information, contact a cybersecurity specialist at Techgardens at 646-783-4550 or email us at

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Why Techgardens?

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Techgardens is a leading systems integrator founded in 2009 with headquarters in New York City. We specialize in IT consulting, cyber security, network infrastructure, enterprise storage, and cloud computing solutions. Techgardens selects the best technology to appropriately match IT solutions that provide efficiency and return on investment. Our team of engineers design and build customized IT solutions that meet the unique needs of our customers; exceeding their expectations. Our technical team has over 50 years of combined experience working in the financial, healthcare, education, government, legal, manufacturing, media, energy and retail verticals. We are staffed with CISSPs, Network Engineers and Systems Administrators with offices in New York, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. We serve customers and industries throughout the US.