According to research from Cisco, 53% of midmarket businesses have experienced a security breach! Yet midmarket companies investigate only  55.6% of security alerts.  Is 44.4 percent an acceptable blind spot? That seems like a lot of risk for companies that can’t afford a day of downtime.  Adversaries view midmarket businesses as easy targets that have less sophisticated security infrastructure, and fewer trained personnel to manage and respond to threats.

But before we go further, let’s define some terms. 

What is midmarket? If you turn to Google for the answer, you’ll get a lot of different answers.  But the standard most prevailing definition by authorities seems to rely on revenue generated by the company, or asset size (number of employees) to determine market classification.  Here we define midmarket as companies with 100 — 1,000 employees. So now that we’ve got our terms in order let’s dig in to the data!

According to the Cisco Umbrella Global Network, midmarket companies are facing a unique set of challenges.  Hackers have identified the weakness, and of course, are out to exploit it for maximum profit. 

cisco umbrella blog midmarket-malware-mayhem-targeted-industries-and-trends-to-watch

You may be surprised with the list above. I know I was…. Where is retail? We’ve seen so many brick and mortar businesses dragged through the headlines.  It seems like a glaring error. Don’t worry (or do worry!) Retail just missed the top 5 by 1%, coming in at 3%. We’ll talk more about shopping later! Keep reading. 

Manufacturing most at risk for malware

Looking at our corporate Umbrella traffic, in particular, we see that manufacturing is targeted by malware 30x more than other industries. Wow.  Is it because these organizations are typically slow to update software on machines for fear of downtime? Likely.  Attackers love to exploit a vulnerability that is specific to an industry – not just a company. 

Energy companies hot targets for cryptomining 

Energy/utilities are targeted by cryptomining 15x more than other industries.  This browser or software-based threat enables bad actors to hijack system resources to generate cryptocurrencies, and cash, while remaining anonymous. The appeal of this activity is threefold: It can be lucrative, payouts are hard if not impossible to trace, and adversaries can worry less about the potential for criminal liability for their actions. (i.e. it’s not like they’re holding a hospital hostage like their evil friend, ransomware).  Adversaries can also deliver mining software (“miners”) through various methods, including email-based spam campaigns and exploit kits. Similar to manufacturing, energy/utilities organizations likely use outdated systems and software that is prone to vulnerabilities, and they can’t afford downtime or outages for security patches, leaving their refineries or coal processing plants in need of software updates. 

Retail Rattled by Rise in Trojans

Retail is targeted by trojans 5x more than other industries. A Trojan is a harmful piece of software that looks legitimate. Users are typically tricked into loading and executing it on their systems. After it is activated, it can achieve any number of attacks on the host, from irritating the user (popping up windows or changing desktops) to damaging the host (deleting files, stealing data, or activating and spreading other malware, such as viruses). Trojans are also known to create backdoors to give malicious users access to the system, often to steal payment information. 

Dreaming of a silver bullet 

Is there a “silver bullet” to solve every cybersecurity challenge? No. And I guess we should all be grateful for that or a lot of us would be out of work…  The threat landscape is too complex and changes daily. The attack surface is always expanding, and as we change how we work, where we work, and how we connect to the internet and cloud apps, our security needs to keep pace and change, too. 

Wake up to Cisco Umbrella

As cloud use increases, organizations need a way to handle the corresponding growth in the number of threats, incidents, and breaches. Leveraging threat intelligence from Cisco Talos, one of the largest commercial threat intelligence teams in the world with more than 300 researchers, Cisco Umbrella uncovers and blocks a broad spectrum of malicious domains, IPs, URLs, and files that are being used in attacks. 

We also feed huge volumes of global internet activity into a combination of statistical and machine learning models to identify new attacks being staged on the internet. Umbrella resolves more than 180 billion DNS requests daily, far more than any other security vendor. This unique insights gives our researchers a unique view of the internet to better identify trends on threats, faster. 

So what are you waiting for? 

Take a few minutes to see what your existing security stack may be missing. With a free 14-day trial of Cisco Umbrella, you’ve got nothing to lose. 

Start a free trial now! 

Takeaway: Top 5 most targeted midmarket companies by hackers:

  • 16% Manufacturing
  • 14% SLED
  • 8% Financial Services
  • 8 %Professional Services
  • 4% Energy/utilities

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