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Cybersecurity Horror Stories That Will Keep You Awake At Night

Cybersecurity Horror Stories

This time of year, we’re all acutely aware that ghosts are ghoulish, shadowy figures are spooky, and vampires are hiding in the night. But if there’s one thing you should truly be afraid of, it’s the threat of a cyberattack hitting your business.

October is about more than the frights of Halloween – it’s also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). TPx is joining the mission to educate the community on the dangers of cybersecurity threats.

We all regularly see the headlines of companies paying millions of dollars as a result of data breaches. As a small or mid-size business, you might brush it off as “it won’t happen to me.” But just because the news doesn’t report on attacks on smaller companies, it doesn’t mean they aren’t happening. In fact, nearly two-thirds of cyber breach victims are small to mid-size businesses. They don’t make it into the news because they don’t affect as many people and don’t cost millions of dollars; however, they do cost enough to make or break a smaller business. According to an October 2017 report from UPS Capital, the average cyberattack costs small businesses between $84,000 and $148,000. Of course, aside from monetary damages, there are damages to customer trust and brand reputation which may never quite return to the pre-attack state.

Let’s take a look at some noteworthy examples of cyberattacks from the last 12 months. Warning: these are so frightening that you might want to sleep with the lights on tonight.

Two Terrifying Tales of Ransomware Infiltrating Government Systems

This March, the city of Atlanta was hit by a massive ransomware attack. Atlanta’s residents were unable to perform simple tasks like paying parking tickets or utility bills because the ransomware attack locked down the city’s files. The hackers demanded payment of approximately $50,000 in Bitcoin. But the real damages supersede this amount by far: the city will now need to come up with $9.5 million to address the remaining damage, more than 6 months after the attack. That amount is on top of the more than $2 million in emergency procurements Atlanta Information Management sought following the attack. But remember, it’s not always just about monetary damages – the cyberattack also destroyed “years” worth of police dash-cam video footage.

More recently, the Port of San Diego fell victim to a ransomware cyberattack, only days after a similar ransomware attack hit the Port of Barcelona in Spain. Such attacks can have ripple effects throughout a variety of industries. They not only bring the movement of goods to a halt in the targeted country, they also slow or stop operations in any other country that ships goods to or from the affected port.

Government organizations like these are frequently a popular target for cyber adversaries. Experts that study public administration and local government especially worry about small to medium-size cities and counties that hold a lot of data, but may not have the in-house resources to keep that data secure.

Three Horrifying Stories of Attacks on the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare is another industry where you can find many cybersecurity horror stories. Last December, a cyberattack knocked the University of Rochester’s Jones Memorial Hospital offline for a week. Fortunately, this small rural provider was prepared and used standard downtime operations that its team regularly trained for. Otherwise, the damage could have been far worse.

Another recently-reported cyberattack happened to an Indiana hospital. A computer virus forced the hospital to cancel elective surgeries and divert ambulances as a result. Protecting hospitals’ computer networks is crucial to preserving patient privacy – and more importantly, life itself. Even so, recent research shows that the health care industry lags behind other industries in securing its data.

Yet another recent example from the medical field comes from the Fetal Diagnostic Institute of the Pacific (FDIP) in Honolulu, which just notified 40,800 patients of a potential data breach after it fell victim to a ransomware attack in June. Only after discovering the ransomware, FDIP tapped a cybersecurity firm to remove the malicious software and restore its data via backup files. However, the cybersecurity firm was unable to determine whether the hackers had viewed or removed any of the information on FDIP’s servers. They only knew that the cyberattack enabled hackers to access current and former patients’ names, dates of birth, home addresses, account numbers, diagnoses, and other types of personal information.

Banks, schools, accountants… the list of companies hit by cyberattacks keeps on going across all industries. Don’t be next! Talk to TPx about how we can help you stay secure so that you’ll have no horror stories to tell.


About the Author

Lucie HysLucie Hys is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at TPx. She is currently leading the marketing efforts for the company’s MSx suite of managed services. She has been working in marketing for more than 9 years, with the last four focusing on the cybersecurity industry. Lucie graduated with an MBA from Florida Gulf Coast University. In her spare time, she is an avid fitness enthusiast and a passionate traveler.

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