What businesses need to know about cybersecurity challenges

Topic: What businesses need to know about cybersecurity challenges

In December 2020, U.S. national security officials made a shocking announcement: the American government had been hacked. The cyber attack, which was attributed to a nation state actor that had leveraged a backdoor in network monitoring software, comprised a range of federal agencies and critical infrastructure. Even today, the scope of the breach remains unclear.

The hack is indicative of the current challenges organizations of all stripes face protecting themselves from bad actors. The extraordinary circumstances in 2020—a global pandemic that fundamentally reshaped how organizations operate—handed cyber adversaries opportunities to exploit the necessities of communication networks and provided rich targets in supply chains and critical infrastructure. In the current environment, third-party risk can certainly be anticipated, but the specific threats are harder than ever to predict.

To help meet the challenges of these times, IBM Security assesses the cyber threat landscape and assists organizations in understanding the evolving threats, their associated risk and how to prioritize cybersecurity efforts. In addition to the premium threat intelligence IBM Security provides to customers, the company analyzes a wealth of data to produce the X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, an annual check-in on the threat landscape and how it’s changing.

Among the trends that IBM Security tracked, ransomware continued its surge to become the number one threat type, representing 23 percent of security events X-Force responded to in 2020. Ransomware attackers increased the pressure to extort payment by combining data encryption with threats to leak the data on public sites. The success of these schemes helped just one ransomware gang reap profits of over $123 million in 2020, according to X-Force estimates.

Manufacturing organizations weathered a number of ransomware and other attacks in 2020. The manufacturing industry overall was the second-most targeted, after finance and insurance, having been the eighth-most targeted industry in 2019. X-Force discovered sophisticated attackers using targeted spear phishing campaigns in attacks against manufacturing businesses and NGOs involved in the covid-19 vaccine supply chain.

Topic Discussed: What businesses need to know about cybersecurity challenges

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