4 Reasons Why Cybercrime is Expanding Rapidly

Hacker concept photo

Are you worried about cybercrime affecting your business? Most business owners will say ‘yes’. Over the last several years, and particularly over the previous two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercrime has expanded rapidly.

It isn’t just the frequency. It’s also the severity that has become extremely worrying. For businesses charged with keeping proprietary corporate data and sensitive customer information safe, a breach or hack of any kind can be devastating.

Learning why cybercrime is expanding rapidly is just the beginning of becoming better prepared to fight this phenomenon. To truly understand the effect a data breach or other cybercrime incident can have on your business, check out some of the following statistics:

  • One business falls victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds
  • The average cost of a data breach now sits at $1.52 million for lost business alone
  • Cybercrime costs global businesses a total of roughly $6 trillion per year
  • By 2025, the total global cost of cybercrime is expected to jump to over $10 trillion

4 Reasons Why Cybercrime is Expanding Rapidly

Unfortunately, understanding cybercrime’s potential personal and global cost is just the first step in stopping it in its tracks. The next step in any robust education on cybersecurity is understanding why cybercrime is expanding so rapidly.

Here are a few of the most pertinent reasons why we’ve seen such a massive expansion of cybercrime recently.  

1. Changing Employee Workplace Preferences

One of the most significant changes that has happened in the last two years is the precipitous rise of remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Pew Research, only 20% of Americans worked from home before the pandemic. During the pandemic, that number jumped to an average of 71% of workers—more than a 50% increase.

The volume and speed of remote work opened up huge vulnerabilities in many companies’ security infrastructure, as employees relied on unsecured home networks and devices to get their work done.

Now, even though many businesses have reopened their offices, many workers got used to working from home, and now 54% say they would prefer to work remotely in the future. To ensure that this does not threaten security, companies must boost their network security for all workers, regardless of where they’re working that day. 

2. The Greater Proliferation of Free Wi-Fi Networks

Another factor that has influenced the rise of cybercrime is the growing proliferation of free Wi-Fi networks. These networks are everywhere, from your favorite coffee shop to the local chain grocery store.

People logging on to these networks are often unaware that they are completely unsecured and unencrypted and offer an easy way for cybercriminals to gain access to a host of data. Additionally, having all this public Wi-Fi available also makes it easy for bad actors to use rogue networks, which are intentionally designed to look innocent but are in fact malicious.

3. The Evolution of Scams and Scammers

One unfortunate reality that we’ve noticed in recent years is that scammers are just getting smarter. There are more resources available to help them, and they are becoming more adept at hiding from the authorities.

Businesses must be aware that repelling one cyberattack doesn’t mean their troubles are over. In fact, this attack may have given the bad actor even more information that they can use to mount a new attack, which is more likely to be successful.  

4. A Failure to Prioritize Cybersecurity

Another reason why cybercrime continues to grow is because many companies are reluctant to take proactive action until it’s too late. A great example of this is Facebook. Advocates had been calling for secure sessions for a long time, pointing out that this vulnerability existed and could be used for malicious purposes. However, it wasn’t until Mark Zuckerberg’s private Facebook page was hacked that the company took action.

Many businesses act the same way. They are either unaware of their security vulnerabilities, or feel that they won’t be noticed. Unfortunately, they are often wrong, to their detriment.

The Most Common Types of Cybercrime

Understanding the evolution of cybercrime and how it has proliferated in the last several years is key to keeping your company safe. In addition to understanding key trends, business leaders and IT professionals must familiarize themselves with the types of cybercrime they’re likely to face.

  • Phishing: Phishing typically takes the form of one or more emails that are sent to trick an individual into damaging or destabilizing their network security. Sometimes the emails ask for information, while other times they contain malicious links or files which can infect the device or network. These emails are usually very cleverly laid out so that they look legitimate.
  • Malware/Ransomware: Malware is any type of program used to infect a computer network or device with a malicious program like a virus or spyware. Malware can also be used to hold an organization hostage, locking them out of their system until they provide the hacker with a ransom, which can reach into the millions of dollars.
  • Distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) Attack: This type of attack occurs when a bad actor floods a company with an overwhelming amount of traffic, forcing its system to slow or even shut down to deal with the influx of incoming users. Since most systems do not have the capacity to filter this much traffic at once, it shuts down access even to legitimate users. 
  • Identity Fraud: This is a common type of cybercrime that involves a hacker using stolen personal information or credentials for malicious purposes. Bad actors can easily obtain this stolen information through phishing or malware.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the only types of cybercrime that affect organizations worldwide today. Some of the most damaging are state-sponsored cybercrime, which involves state-sponsored actors using their knowledge to affect the security of public and even governmental organizations.

Why is this cross-border cybercrime expanding so rapidly? Many of the reasons are the same as those above, but the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has also elevated global tensions.

Protect Your Organization from Cybercrime with Threater

To securely protect your organization from cybercrime, you must continually search for new resources that can help provide an active defense against bad actors. Unfortunately, being defensive or reactive is no longer sufficient.

Threater falls firmly into the category of active defense, as we’re constantly learning about new threats and detecting ways to improve and block them before they happen. It’s an extra layer for your next-generation firewall, combining threat intelligence from external sources to provide a comprehensive security umbrella over your operations.

Want to know more about how it works? Download the latest datasheet here.