A Poor Cyber-Hygiene Can Lead to These 3 Consequences
A common reason for cyber-hygiene is to stop hackers. But such a definition understates the importance of cybersecurity. In truth, there are many ways to justify cyber-hygiene.
The following list of poor cyber hygiene consequences is by no means exhaustive. But it stresses that you should at least enforce strict password policies, as they are the first defense against prying eyes.
We’ll start by explaining what kind of values should be applied to your business in order to avoid the possible consequences of not taking care of cybersecurity. Then we’ll move to a more understandable explanation of this problem.
The Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability
The CIA triad is an excellent place to begin understanding the value of cyber-hygiene.
To maintain confidentiality, only those authorized must have access to certain information. It means ensuring that only authorized people can access or make changes to data and systems. A security breach or illegal access brought about by poor cyber-hygiene compromises confidentiality.
Integrity means ensuring that information is accurate and complete. Accuracy is reflected when no unauthorized party or technical error alters the data. Complete information means no unauthorized party or technical error deletes any details.
Integrity also requires nonrepudiation, meaning no one can dispute its authenticity or accuracy. Man-in-the-middle attacks are a known consequence of poor cyber hygiene. They pose a grave threat to integrity.
Availability implies data, systems, communication methods, and security controls perform as intended.
Availability is often seen as less critical than confidentiality and integrity. But it is a crucial aspect of cyber security.
Ensuring availability can be challenging. And it can be much trickier than guarding privacy or accuracy. One reason is that larger businesses have the “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem. They have a lot of non-cybersecurity personnel handling data while performing their tasks.
Criminals launch distributed denial-of-service attacks to reduce availability. DDoS attacks are easy to execute and challenging to prevent. The only thing you can do is observe proper password hygiene. The sheer difficulty of cracking your password can ward off hackers.
Online businesses understand the challenges of creating and maintaining many user accounts. Yet remembering different passwords for many accounts makes employees reuse passwords, posing a serious security concern. Business password managers are an easy solution in this case. With it in use, your employees won’t have to use weak or repetitive passwords.
The CIA triad is also known as the goals of cybersecurity. The loss of confidentiality, integrity, and data availability sums up the impact of poor cyber hygiene. But you can better understand them in terms that reflect human experiences.
Outcomes of Poor Cyber-Hygiene
1. Financial Losses
A hacker gaining access to your bank account and stealing money is an example of a direct financial loss. Indirect monetary losses occur when businesses lose clients due to a security breach.
About 24% of businesses hit by cybercrime lost between $50,000 and $99,999. Another 22% of the companies lost between $200,000 and $499,999. Meanwhile, on average, cyber security breaches cost UK firms 1,200 British pounds in 2022. This might not seem like a high number, yet it increases significantly when talking about larger businesses.
2. Career Damage
Imagine a breach occurs under the watch of a cybersecurity expert and due to negligence. In that case, that person’s professional reputation will take a hit.
But other professionals can also experience the impact of a breach. CEOs are subject to termination, and board members are liable for lawsuits.
Hackers can damage a professional’s reputation if they leak sensitive information. That could include, for example, documentation of wrongdoing and emails containing offensive content.
3. Physical Harm
Failure to maintain cybersecurity can endanger human lives. In 2021, an Alabama hospital experienced system disruptions due to a ransomware attack. It resulted in a newborn baby’s death due to preventable medical errors. And Russian hackers broke into the US nuclear weapons agency and at least three other countries.
Most cyberattacks would have a slower death toll than nuclear weapons, but they can be as deadly. Hacks can lead to a lack of food, electricity, or gas for heating. A hacked traffic signal system can also result in traffic accidents. These are all potential causes of injuries or fatalities.
Maintaining good cyber hygiene is one of the most crucial measures in stopping a hack. And to a large extent, passwords serve as a critical component.
Often, a password stands between an attacker and complete control of a system. Follow cyber hygiene best practices to avoid loss of life, money, or career.