Believe it or not, “hacking” didn’t begin as a crime reference. The term supposedly originated in the 1960s as a description of what some MIT model train enthusiasts did to modify the operation of their trains without re-engineering the device. In the 1970s, hacking turned a bit more malicious with phone “hacks” to exploit free long distance service.

Now, of course, hacking is a cybercrime, and with the rise of the personal computer and the internet, so too rose cybercrime. As more and more services move online, cybercrime increases. Now, according to the Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime Study recently published by Accenture and the Ponemon Institute, cybercrime is also costing more money and taking longer to resolve.

Today’s cyberattacks are escalating, from the companies chosen to victimize, to the techniques used to carry them out, to the level of harm they cause. Last year, there were an average of 145 security breaches—ones that infiltrated companies’ core networks or enterprise systems—in each of the firms in the survey. That’s 11 percent higher than the number of reported breaches in 2017, and 67 percent higher than five years ago.

The Price Tag of a Cyber Attack

As the number of attacks rises, so too does the cost to find, examine, contain, and recover from an attack. On top of that, companies also lose money to business disruptions and customer losses. This financial impact has risen $1.4 million since 2018, to a grand average total of $13 million. American companies lead the charge with a 29 percent increase in average cost, totaling $27.4 million USD. Japan and Germany followed with $13 million, and the UK behind them at $11.5 million.

Incorrect Data is Just as Damaging

The theft of data is the costliest and rapidly increasing result of cybercrime, but data isn’t the only thing in the bad guys’ crosshairs. According to the report, mission-critical operational systems such as industrial controls are other targets, for the sole purpose of throwing a wrench into—or even destroying—a company’s business. For instance, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks can shut down online services for hours and cause major damages by bringing operations to a standstill.

While most of us would rightly assume that data is a top target, theft of that data isn’t always the priority intent. There’s a new trend among cybercriminals to mess with company data just enough so that it is either ruined or can no longer be trusted.

On top of that, cybercriminals are evolving their techniques. Fake links and email attachments might be old tricks but what’s new is the growing propensity of certain countries and their paid hackers to use these techniques to take down giant commercial companies. Some jurisdictions are starting to classify such attacks as “acts of war” in an attempt to thwart or limit cyber-security insurance settlements.

Improve Security in 3 Steps

The Accenture/Ponemon study noted that better cyber-security measures can allow CIOs and other IT leaders to reduce cybercrime costs and cash in on new revenue opportunities. To this end, it presented three steps that enterprises can take to improve security and cut losses:

  1. Make it a priority to protect against people-centered attacks.
  2. Budget for and spend on tools to stop information losses, business disruptions, and system outages.
  3. Take advantage of tools that can keep IT security costs down through automation and security intelligence.

Implementing automation, advanced analytics, orchestration, and machine-learning technologies can result in the second-highest cost savings for security technologies overall, according to the Accenture Ponemon survey. But if these solutions are implemented in a silo, it could end up causing your organization more harm than good.

Combat this urge to implement cyber security measures in a vacuum by working with a software partner. Accounting Systems Incorporated can help you find the most effective solutions for your business. ASI is committed to helping businesses of all sizes find the business and accounting software that is right for their needs. Let us find the right technology bundle for your data to increase your protection against cybercrime and keep your business running smoothly. Contact us today!