Although technological disruptions and digitalization are significant for society, cyberattacks continue to grow in sophistication and scale. The feared COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many small, medium, and large-sized businesses and has only exacerbated the cyberattacks in different sectors.
McAfee Enterprise & FireEye released a report in 2021 that found that nearly 81% of surveyed organizations experienced an increase in cyber threats since the COVID-19 epidemic. About 79% of these firms also suffered downtime from incidents during peak season. The World Economic Forum’s Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2022′ revealed data showing that ransomware attacks rose to 151% in 2021 due to the pandemic. Affected companies were estimated to have paid USD 3.6million for each cyber breach.
Global Market Insights Inc. projects that the global cyber security market will be worth USD 400 Billion by 2027. This is due to organizations seeking to reduce the constant rise in threats.
What were the responses of different sectors to cyberattacks that grew during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Sectors such as healthcare, banking, and IT are looking for new-age cybersecurity technologies to ensure proper and secure business operations. Below is a quick overview of how different sectors responded to the cyber threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Healthcare sector – Ransomware attacks volume will rise 69% in 2021, prompting the implementation of cybersecurity initiatives and policies in the healthcare sector.
Cyber-attacks on various healthcare organizations worldwide continue to rise at an alarming rate. The number of cyber-attacks on healthcare organizations has nearly doubled in the period following the coronavirus.
“Another report from Sophos shows that more than one-third of healthcare organizations worldwide were affected by ransomware in 2020,”
Healthcare organizations often include specialized hospital information systems such as e-prescribing and EHR systems. Clinical decision support systems and patient data are all part of these systems. They must invest in new-age cybersecurity technology and solutions.
Why is cybersecurity critical in healthcare?
Cybersecurity is essential in the healthcare industry to safeguard valuable insights, patient information, and other critical healthcare data. Different governments and companies have developed vital solutions for the healthcare sector to provide hospital security.
In the United States, lawmakers introduced a bill in 2022 that aimed to increase cybersecurity in healthcare and the public health sphere. This bill was introduced when cyber threats from Russia were growing.
Global Market Insights Inc. projects that the healthcare cybersecurity market will surpass $35.3 billion by 2027.
2. Education sector – The rising number of ‘evirus’ cases in e-learning spaces requires implementing cyber security training programs.
The education sector has been at the forefront of cyber threats since 2020. This is due to the shift in education from on-premises to cloud-based, online, or e-learning.
“A recent Check Point Software Technologies report shows that cyber attackers are most likely to target the research and education verticals in 2021,” says Check Point Software Technologies. They were responsible for an average of 1,605 cyber attacks per week. This indicates a 75% increase in cyber threats since 2020.
Why are cyber-rogues attracted to the education sector?
The primary reason attackers are attracted to education organizations is the large amount of student data they have access to, which can be used to open credit card accounts, loans, or other government benefits.
This led to a rise in demand for cybersecurity programs and training sessions at education institutions that train students and faculty on how to combat future cyberattacks. Whatcom Community College, for example, announced in 2021 that it had designated the NSF Advanced Technological Education National Cybersecurity Center, which will offer cybersecurity education and training to faculty.
Cyber attackers are increasingly targeting developing nations. It is imperative to mention that cyber-attacks on the Indian education system have been increasing rapidly since 2021. According to the above, India experienced an average of 5,196 cyber-attacks per week in July 2021. These stats offer new opportunities for cybersecurity market leaders in the country and other parts of Asia Pacific, including Australia.
Future of cybersecurity in education and healthcare
Cyber crimes have seen a 600% increase in their incidence since the COVID-19 pandemic. This shows that cyber security is a pressing issue. Cybercrimes have made education and healthcare the most vulnerable industries during the pandemic. This opens up new opportunities for solution providers.
It is crucial to know how these sectors will be able to counter the growing threat of ransomware and malware attacks in the future. Analysts suggest that education institutions adopt a strong cybersecurity culture and practice Single Sign-On and Multi-factor Authentication (MFA).
Experts believe that AI integration in hospitals could reduce errors and help detect cyber threats earlier. Key sectors could fight the rise in cybercrime with technological advancements and awareness of the various threat types and solutions.
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