Rise in Cybercrime Reinforces Need for Strong Information Security Practices

data security abstract

About the Author

Picture of John Murray

John Murray

John oversees IWCO Information Technology (IT) Department, encouraging and empowering our IT teams to develop and deliver creative, optimized business systems designed to be highly available, yet appropriately secured.

This proud US Coast Guard veteran says the best part of his more than 15 years with IWCO is being surrounded by great talent who dream big and work hard. He holds a BS in Information Security Management from the University of Phoenix, Seattle.

2020 brought a lot of change to the way companies do business. Cramped meeting rooms were replaced by video conference meetings. Towering buildings, once over capacity, now mostly empty as workers have pivoted to working remotely. The power lunch replaced by one of the many food delivery services.

Because of the rapid and frequent business changes in 2020, many companies were forced to make difficult decisions that included cutting staff, reducing pay, and weighing productivity vs. employee safety, among others. One thing history has taught us is that some people take advantage of others during a crisis. It happens in war, politics, business, and cyber-security too. Listed are a few disturbing trends we are seeing concerning cybercrime, which reinforce the need for strong Information Security practices.

Included in this chaos and confusion, we are now seeing attacks by cybercriminals every 39 seconds, and a 600% rise in phishing attempts to steal personal information since the end of February 2020. Obviously, COVID-19 was a major contributor to much of the 2020 chaos, resulting in a 70% increase in attacks from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2020 alone. A security threat report issued by Symantec shows customer information as the number one most valuable target for cybercriminals. IBM research shows that ransomware attacks tripled in Q2 2020 compared to the same period the previous year and resulted in an average of 19 days of downtime for business affected. Also, nearly 90% of the cyber insurance claims in 2020 involved ransomware or business email compromise. Losses from cybercrime have increased more than 50% since 2018, and now total more than $1 trillion annually. Lastly, although I couldn’t verify this, apparently 85% of people posting puppy photos in 2020 were somehow trying to scam you. Heavy sigh…

Information Security Practices Remained Important in 2020

Like other companies, IWCO Direct saw its share of change in 2020. However, I am proud to say we haven’t conceded in security practices as a result of all the chaos this past year. We have continued to strengthen our Information Security practices by investing more in training, infrastructure, and security tools to help protect our company’s and clients’ information. We continue to be vigilant, looking for suspicious activity and making changes if concerns are found. Finally, we have increased our security awareness efforts by continually training our staff on the most recent cybercriminal activity and techniques.

If you’re a business leader, you have faced many difficult decisions this past year, but one area that must not be compromised is your Information Security practices. Maintaining strong security controls is essential to our businesses. Without them we only embolden cybercriminals to take advantage of the gaps in our defenses. As we continue to deal with change and uncertainty in 2021, IWCO Direct will keep safety and security measures as a top priority.

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