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Cyber-Attacks: The Most Common Hacking Methods Per Industry

by Anthony Weaver
  • 55% of UK businesses report cyber-attacks in 2019.
  • Clickjacking is the most common form of hacking in education (66%).
  • For Government-owned and retail/hospitality businesses, burrowing malware is most common.
  • Denial of service (DDOS) hacking techniques are used most against technical services (58%).

More than half of UK businesses have reported cyber-attacks in 2019.

And recent threats to Britain’s nuclear industry proves no-one is safe.

Is each industry susceptible to a certain type of hacking?

Specops Software sought to find out. Individuals from a range of sectors were asked whether they/their company had experienced a cyber-attack in the past 5 years (or since launch).

1,731 respondents were enlisted. Of these, they were then asked to choose which forms of hacking* they have been victim to.

What is the most common cyber-attack per industry?

The most prevalent hacking technique in each industry can be revealed below and in the graphic:

  • Advertising/Marketing/PR/Media – Waterhole attacks (59%)
  • Business/Finance/Legal – Macro malware (in documents – 51%)
  • Education – Clickjacking (UI Redress – 66%)
  • Government – Burrowing malware (37%)
  • Healthcare – Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks (62%)
  • Miscellaneous Other – Phishing (71%)
  • Retail/Hospitality – Burrowing malware (44%)
  • Technical Services – DDOS (Denial of Service – 58%)

Respondents from each industry were asked further survey questions, detailing efforts companies take to combat future attacks, cyber-security training in the workplace and general risks to businesses – if you would like to see this for a specific sector, please get in touch.

To combat future attacks, Specops Software’s Cyber Security Expert Darren James has provided his top tips:

  1. Always update – This includes antivirus software. Programmes are constantly updated, and every update provides vital patches/bug fixes. Missing any of these could expose a weakness to potential hackers.
  2. Nip it in the bud – at the first sign of strange activity (e.g. unusually large data usage, slow service, pop-ups, etc.), flag it – a superior will be able to carry out necessary checks and prevent a potential virus from worsening.
  3. Don’t believe everything you read – Many still fall for easy phishing scams and clickbait viruses, resulting in serious security breaches. Always question what is presented to you.
  1. If in doubt, refrain from clicking – it’s better to be safe than sorry. There’s no way to know the contents of a document/link before opening, especially as hackers adapt to the improving technological space. Ask for advice, but ultimately avoid it if you are unsure.

*Respondents chose from the following common hacking techniques: Bait and Switch, Browser Locker, Burrowing Malware, Clickjacking (UI Redress), Cookie Theft (Side Jacking/Session Hijacking), Denial of Service (DDOS), Eavesdropping/Passive Attacks, Fake WAP, Human Error, Internal Security Breaches, IoT Attacks, Keylogging, Macro Malware in Documents, Man-in-the-middle (MITM) Attacks, Phishing, Ransomware Attacks, Waterhole Attacks. – Respondents were offered small explanations to each hacking method to ensure choices were accurate and informed.

*If you would like to see stats for these possible choices, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

**If you would like to see survey results for other sectors involved, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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