Cybercrime on Rise, Companies Unprepared

Monday, March 7, 2016 @ 06:03 PM gHale


Online crime is a fast-growing threat to companies, but knowing that, two new surveys show executives are not taking enough steps to protect sensitive data.

Results from the Global Economic Crime Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers show at least 54 percent of respondents from U.S. companies have experienced some type of cybercrime, compared with 32 percent of organizations worldwide.

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Those incidents have become more common since 2014, when 44 percent in the U.S. reported being victims of cybercrime, as did 24 percent of those worldwide.

The research group said in the study there is a distinct possibility the remaining percentage of companies could suffer from a compromise without knowing it. The full global report involved surveys completed by 6,337 representatives from companies in 115 countries.

Hacks on company networks can be very costly if they expose or result in the theft of data such as customer profiles, payment information and corporate secrets.

The PwC survey showed around 7 percent of global respondents lost more than $5 million because of cybercrime, while around 2 percent reported losing more than $100 million.

Yet despite the increasing danger of hackers, “too few companies are adapting their risk assessments and control frameworks fast enough,” said Andrew Gordon, a global leader for forensic services at PwC.

Fifty-four percent of U.S. companies surveyed have a fully operational plan to deal with an online attack. But when asked whether they had a team of people prepared to respond to cyber security incidents, only 48 percent of organizations said they had trained first responders. Respondents said these teams mainly included technical staff over legal advisers and digital forensics investigators from inside the company or an outside firm.

A separate survey by Zogby Analytics and cyber security training firm CyberVista also shows how management officials at U.S. companies are falling short on prioritizing cybersecurity. Of 300 U.S. executives contacted in December, 5 percent reported their company had been hacked more than five times during 2015, while only 38 percent reported they had not been hacked last year.

However, only 25 percent of executives and board members responding to the survey believed recruiting professionals to address the problem was a critical cyber security issue, ranking it sixth out of seven main cyber security priorities.