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Cybersecurity Awareness Month Special: Cybersecurity by the Numbers

October 4, 2023
Posted by Andre Marion

October Cybersecurity Awareness Month is here. You can make the most of it without requiring a big investment of your time.

2023 marks an important milestone in cybersecurity: this is the year artificial intelligence exploded in popularity, revolutionizing our lives with breakthroughs in education, health care, entertainment, and so many others. It also introduced sophisticated threats designed to outsmart traditional security measures.

While some of us are delighted with the potential for ChatGPT’ to write essays and blog articles, hackers are feasting on other tools like FraudGPT, a tool designed for cybercrime that uses a powerful language model to generate realistic and coherent text based on user prompts, for use in phishing emails, malware code, hacking guides, and fake identities.

Are you prepared to communicate what’s happening with your team? In our experience, many companies are not. They’re banning the use of AI tools in the workplace and shying away from educating employees until they have policies in place. 

To help your team take advantage of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we’ve prepared an infographic to shed light on revealing cybersecurity statistics.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: A glimpse into today's digital threat landscape.

Unsettling Cybersecurity Statistics for 2023

Cyber Attacks are Increasingly Common

Cybersecurity Graphic: A cyber attack happens every 39seconds

Even with more sophisticated tools to combat hacking, cybercrime is on the rise. A cyberattack now takes place every 39 seconds

While that pace is concerning, financial consequences are even more so. A small to medium size business can be forced to fold after an attack.

The Cost of Data Breaches is Rising

Infographic Cybersecurity by the numbers: graph showing the average cost of cyber attacks in 2023 is U$ 4.45 million.

Total damage from cyberattacks escalated to $6 trillion last year and is expected to cost the world $8 trillion this year. The average cost of a single data breach is now $4.45 million.

The sophistication of cyber breaches also poses a challenge. It still takes several months for a company to realize an attack has occurred. Most organizations are taking longer than they should to identify hacks (more on that later).

Cyber Threats Take Time to Detect and Contain

Infographic Cybersecurity by the numbers: average time to detect and contain a data breach is 287 days

Timely detection and containment are crucial. It took an average of 287 days to identify and contain a data breach two years ago. Today, on average, the lag time is over 100 days.

This delay in breach detection underlines the ways cyberattacks lie dormant or mimic regular operations. The stats prove the need for continuous monitoring and advanced threat detection.

Your Gatekeepers are not Keeping Up With it

 Infographic Cybersecurity by the numbers: 88% of all data breaches can be traced back to employee mistakes

One key fact your team can influence with minimal investment: your workforce is inadvertantly leaving the door open to hackers.

88% of all data breaches can be traced back to employee mistakes

Are they doing it maliciously? Mostly, no. Insider threat is a considerable risk, most employees are willing to engage in cybersecurity. However, they need to be engages with content that is easy to understand, topical, and non-threatening. Most companies still aren’t doing that very well. 

Phishing Dominates the Cyber Threat Landscape

Infographic Cybersecurity by the numbers: anatomy of cyber attacks
  • Large and medium enterprises are the preferred targets for cybercrime because that’s where the money is; 57% of cyber attacks target the enterprise
  • Phishing remains the top tactic, accounting for 90% of reported security incidents 
  • 60% of attacks exploited known vulnerabilities for which patches are available — but not applied.

Nearly 60% of organizations that suffered a data breach in the past two years cite as the culprit a known vulnerability for which they had not yet patched!

Over a third of the respondents to a Ponemon Institute study said they knew their systems were vulnerable prior to an attack and chose not to patch it immediately. 

The reason? Most CIOs and CISOs explain that they are concerned about interrupting operations. 

This delay in the name of business continuity makes the effects of cyber attacks even more devastating. And even with the well-established risks, many companies don't have dedicated cybersecurity personnel.

Business Preparedness: A Bleak Picture

Infographic Cybersecurity by the numbers: business preparedness.

The current state of readiness in the face of cyber threats is lacking. 

  • Over half (51%) of businesses operate without dedicated cybersecurity personnel.
  • 54% of organizations lack regular cybersecurity training, leaving employees ill-equipped to recognize and fend off threats.
  • 60% of businesses took more than a week to address vulnerabilities post-breach.
  • In larger organizations with 500+ employees, only 38% have a proactive incident response plan in place.

Companies should be strongholds against hackers

Organizations — regardless of their size — should have a bunker mentality about cybersecurity. Inside their walls are their crown jewels: customer and employee data, IP, and their competitive and financal plans.

Truth is, organizations of all sizes are ill-equipped to handle the inevitable. There aren’t modern tools in place, and employees who should be helping are unaware of how to do it.

All while thousands of enemies are at the moat, finding new ways to penetrate defenses.

And yes, in some cases, the enemy is inside the perimeter, whether for personal gain or out of sheer ignorance.

What is the takeaway of all this information?

These cybersecurity stats underscore the urgency of bolstering digital defenses.

October Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a great time for organizations to evaluate, adapt, and enhance cybersecurity beginning with the largest attack surface: the workforce. 

Take a proactive stand this October. Check out the extensive Aware Force Cyber Library featuring videos, quizzes, posters, one-sheets, and infographics, all geared to your employees with interesting, actionable information — and every one of them branded for your organization. 

Aware Force is cybersecurity defined. 

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