Top 4 industries most vulnerable to cyber attacks

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The reality of today’s technological world is that any company harboring sensitive customer information could become the target of an expert cybercriminal. However, there are certain industries that are more vulnerable to attacks than others. Here is a closer look at the most vulnerable industries against cybercriminals.

Financial institutions  

Financial institutions and banks are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches because hackers can gain access to credit card information, bank account information, etc., and this can result in money takeovers. For example, the The Federal Reserve detected more than 50 cyber breaches between 2011 and 2015, with several incidents described internally as “espionage,” according to Fed records. Additionally, experts predict that attempted cyber attacks on the finance world will only continue into 2017.


In general, hospitals are some of the most vulnerable intuitions because of general lack of necessary funding. Additionally, medical facilities can be seen by attackers as cyber goldmines with a hodgepodge of outdated systems and understaffed employees with little cyber training. Additionally, if attacked, hospitals generally have more of an incentive to quickly pay cybercriminals so they can get back to the data held hostage by ransomware. Especially, when dealing with people’s lives and their medical data.

Schools and universities

What makes academic institutions vulnerable is their lack of general cybersecurity measures. One study by Tifoil Security tested the networks of 557 state universities with a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack. The results found that a whopping 25% of universities were vulnerable. Also, schools tend to keep most of their information publicly available, specifically about the people they employ, with online access to email addresses and this makes schools prime targets for phishing schemes.


Retailers collecting and protecting data through a variety of sources, from point of sale machines to tap to pay terminals, can prove to be quite challenging. The massive amount of data to protect across multiple endpoints is no easy task. Additionally, card data collected at the time of purchase is often fed into vulnerable analytic systems used by marketers to track customer buying habits.

As cybercrime is on the rise, the truth of the matter is no industry is immune to data breaches. What other industries or institutions did we not list? How can we as consumers and users of these institutions better protect ourselves? Leave a comment below!

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UMSA Org About UMSA Org

UMSA (Upper Midwest Security Alliance) is an alliance of security and risk-related organizations. As a nonprofit founded in 2004, UMSA serves business, government and education professionals in the upper Midwest, collaborating with professional associations, educators and industry-leading companies to provide professional development opportunities that contribute to a stronger security foundation for organizations.

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