The top five industries most susceptible to cyber crime include travel, education, financial services, government services and IT services, according to a recent phishing experiment conducted among small and medium enterprises featured in the latest Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000 listings.
Cybersecurity awareness training firm KnowBe4 sent out a simulated phishing email to about 29,000 employees at more than 3,500 companies found on the Inc.com website. Those who clicked the link were directed to a web page that informed them they had just participated in phishing research. Of all the companies, nearly 500 of those companies had one or more employees who clicked the link.
“Any business that provides access to email or access to its networks via the Internet is only as safe from cyber crime to the degree that its employees are trained to avoid phishing emails and other cyber heist schemes,” said KnowBe4 founder and CEO Stu Sjouwerman.” The more employees within an organization that use email or go online, the greater the risk of exposure to cyber crime.”
The experiment revealed the industries most prone to fall prey to phishing attempts are travel (25 percent), education (22.92 percent), financial services (22.69 percent), government services (21.23 percent) and IT services (20.44 percent).
“Our cyber-crime statistics should serve as a wake-up call to SMEs nationwide,” Sjouwerman said. “Not only are these businesses at risk for financial loss through a cyber heist, but their susceptibility to phishing tactics could compromise sensitive customer data such as credit card, bank account and Social Security numbers.”
A false sense of security could be one of the main reasons companies are vulnerable to cyber crime, with most assuming that antivirus software and an in-house IT team provide adequate cybersecurity, Sjouwerman said
“But considering that IT is among the most phish-prone industries, it’s clear that’s a very dangerous assumption to make,” he noted.