Top Data Security Threats for 2017


As business and technology further entwine, data security becomes an increasingly serious concern. Last year, cyberthieves executed almost 1,100 breaches and extracted more than 36 million sensitive files, according to data from the Identity Theft Resource Center. Organizations victim to these serious system intrusions devoted considerable company resources to mitigating the damage and restarting stalled business-critical applications. How much?

The exact figure is unknown. However, The Ponemon Institute estimates that the average enterprise pays $221 per stolen file. Most spend a total of $7 million per breach.


Sadly, these cyberattacks will only increase in volume, as hackers engineer new ways to infiltrate servers, degrade bottom lines and destroy reputations. Enterprises that traditionally neglect their digital defenses must shore up their systems with new data security technology designed to address the latest threats. Here are some of the web-based hazards sure to impact the marketplace throughout 2017:

Ransomware increases in popularity

Hackers have long used ransomware to extort money from individuals and organizations of all kinds. Last year, the cybercriminals wielding these nefarious programs regularly targeted health systems and hospitals, Becker’s Health IT and CIO Review reported.

Ransomware usage is expected to increase throughout the year, according to TechRepublic. Organizations with bring-your-own-device policies or innovative operational strategies involving web-enabled items connected to the Internet of Things are most at risk, as ransomware usually enters networks via bogus emails or compromised applications.

In reality, most firms do not have the bandwidth to respond to these attacks as they unfold. As a result, most analysts advise vulnerable enterprises to develop relationships with external data security groups that offer 24-hour monitoring and other high-level services.

Reputations at risk

In the past, cybercriminals targeted organizations for financial reasons. However, this is slowly starting to change. Today, many break into back-end systems simply to make a statement or air dirty laundry. While these attacks don’t involve the extraction of confidential data, they can still affect the balance sheet, CIO reported.

“With attackers more organized, attacks more sophisticated and threats more dangerous, there are greater risks to an organization’s reputation than ever before,” Steve Durbin, managing director for the Information Security Forum, told the magazine. “In addition, brand reputation and the trust dynamic that exists amongst customers, partners and suppliers have become targets for cybercriminals and hacktivists.”

Maintaining ethical business practices is, of course, the most effective way to prevent against brand-damaging intrusions.

Threats from the inside

In recent years, enterprises and data security firms have succeeded in developing effective strategies to address outsiders looking to enter company networks. Consequently, cybercriminals have been forced to find new ways to infiltrate company servers. Many are exploring attacks that involve using employee credentials to access systems. Some gain this information by offering financial incentives to willing internal partners, while others steal logins.

Organizations can combat these new methodologies by carefully tracking user activity and implementing multilevel security features. IT security training, data security training or cybersecurity programs may be necessary to mitigate threats and attacks, as well their associated costs.


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