OPERATIONS

Study: Cyber-security tops the list of business risks

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Cyber-criminals are in an intense arms race, and all organizations, including retailers, are feeling the fallout.

There were 9.32 billion total malware attacks in 2017, an 18.4% year-over-year increase. This puts cyber-attacks on pace to becoming the No. 1 risk to business, brands, operations and financials, according to the “2018 Cyber Threat Report,” from SonicWall, a network security provider.

According to the study, while ransomware attacks dropped from 638 million to 184 million between 2016 and 2017, the number of ransomware variants increased 101.2% — proving that risks continue to grow. And smart devices are increasingly cyber-thieves’ preferred entry point — especially as consumers increasingly shop/order from the comfort of their homes.

However, some devices are better targets. Androids are the most targeted devices for ransomware attacks. And as these phones and tablets become more sophisticated, so do the mechanisms used by ransomware to render devices useless, according to the study.

“The cyber-arms race affects every government, business, organization and individual. It cannot be won by any one of us,” said SonicWall CEO Bill Conner.

“A series of strategic attacks and countermeasures reveals the cyber arms race continues to escalate,” Connor said. “The risks to business, privacy and related data grow by the day — so much so that cyber-security is outranking some of the more traditional business risks and concerns.”

The good news is that traffic encrypted by SSL/TLS standards — an encrypted link between a web server and a browser — increased 24%, representing 68% of total traffic. Without SSL decryption capabilities in place, the average organization will see almost 900 attacks per year hidden by SSL/TLS encryption, data revealed.

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