5 Major Cybercrimes Owners Can't Ignore

Date: May 23, 2016 Last Edit: June 03, 2016

What should you be cautious of on the internet? A new report highlights the most recent cybercrime trends.

Cybersecurity might be more important today than it’s ever been. 

With cybercriminals setting up businesses and applying company-like best practices to execute crimes more effectively, owners and individuals alike need to similarly step up their game. In Symantec’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR), the company gathered data on the past year’s threat activity to discover the most recent trends in cybercrime—along with some ideas on how to prevent attacks.  


Here are five big takeaways from the report:

1. Spear-phishing attacks targeting employees increased by 55 percent in 2015.

Over the last five years, there has been a steady increase in attacks on small businesses. In 2015, 43 percent of all attacks were targeted at small businesses, according to the report.

With Fortune 500 companies not the only ones at risk, small business owners need to educate their employees on how they can avoid these types of attacks.

2. On average, a new zero-day vulnerability was discovered weekly in 2015.

Zero-day vulnerabilities are security holes in browsers and website plugins that groups exploit before a vendor can be aware of and fix the problem.

The number of zero-day vulnerabilities discovered in 2015 more than doubled to 54, which is a 125 percent increase from 2014, according to the report.

3. There are major security vulnerabilities in three-quarters of popular websites.

Well-known websites are no safety net from online crime—many cybercriminals take advantage of vulnerabilities in legitimate websites to infect and scam users. Being wary of security holes while browsing websites—even popular ones—can help your business’ information stay secure.

4. 500 million personal records were stolen or lost in 2015.

The tail end of 2015 witnessed the world’s largest reported data breach to date. However, this was only one of nine mega-breaches of the year, cumulatively adding up to 429 million exposed identities. Symantec predicts that with unreported breaches, the total number of records lost comes to over half a billion.

5. Ransomware increased by 35 percent in 2015.

In ransomware attacks, hackers usually encrypt stolen data and demand ransom for its release. This profitable type of attack found new targets in 2015 when the focus shifted from PCs to smart phones, Mac, and Linux systems, according to the report. 

Kevin Haley, the director of product management and security response at Symantec, recommends that companies do not pay ransom when they are attacked because it funds subsequent attacks, according to SecurityWeek.

More cybersecurity resources: 

Do You Need Outside Help with Cybersecurity?

The Biggest Cybersecurity Threat Might Come from the Place You Least Expect

How to Create Secure Passwords That Will Help Protect Your Data

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