Key Findings from the 2023 Cybersecurity Trends Report

Strong cybersecurity is not just a necessity but a lifeline for every business. As online threats become more advanced and dangerous, and our reliance on technology deepens, the potential consequences of a breach get more serious. We’ve seen that the biggest security vulnerability often stems from common mistakes, such as using simple passwords and neglecting proper security measures. These seemingly innocuous errors are responsible for nearly 88% of all data breaches, a statistic that should serve as a wake-up call.

The National Cybersecurity Alliance and CybSafe have taken a proactive step in the fight against cyber threats. They have published an annual report, a comprehensive guide that examines how well individuals and businesses protect themselves online. This report is not just a collection of data but a powerful tool designed to empower and inform, aiming to improve digital security for everyone.

This year’s report includes responses from over 6,000 people across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. It highlights the most frequent cyber risks, recommends best security practices, and assesses awareness of digital threats. But what does this mean for you, small business owners and managers? The findings directly relate to your operations and your responsibility to protect your business.

Here are some findings we think are most relevant to you:

The Digital Presence Dilemma

According to the study, 93% of respondents are online daily. What’s alarming, though, is the proliferation of “sensitive” accounts — those repositories of personal data that, if compromised, could have dire consequences. Nearly half of the survey’s participants admit to managing ten or more such accounts, exponentially multiplying their risk factor, especially when reusing passwords across multiple platforms.

Frustration with Online Security

While the majority (84%) agree on the primacy of online security, many feel a palpable sense of frustration and intimidation. With 39% of individuals feeling overwhelmed by the complexity of digital security, it paints a stark picture of the common sentiment: a battle against cyber threats feels fruitless. Despite this, more than half believe in their ability to control their digital security, a perspective that, while optimistic, reveals a significant portion of the populace mired in resignation.

Just a few simple tweaks in your daily security hygiene can make all the difference.

Bridging the Knowledge Gap

One important insight from the survey is the glaring deficit in cybersecurity training access. Only 26% of respondents have had the opportunity to undergo such training, with a marked disparity based on employment status, leaving those not in active employment particularly vulnerable. This points to a critical area for enhancement — expanding the reach and availability of cybersecurity education to foster universally informed users.

 

Source: The Annual Cybersecurity Attitudes and Behaviors Report 2023

The Cybercrime Landscape

The survey unveils that over a quarter of its participants have been touched by cybercrime, with phishing, online dating scams, and identity theft leading the charge. 

The types of cybercrimes reported include:

  • Phishing (47%)
  • Online dating scams (27%)
  • Identity theft (26%)

Interestingly, the demographic breakdown shows millennials at the highest risk, challenging the stereotype that older generations are more susceptible to digital scams.

Online Security Best Practices

1. Strong, Unique Passwords

  • Use strong, unique passwords for every account.
  • Mix uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

2. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):

  • Boost security with multi-factor authentication.
  • MFA protects your accounts, even if a password is compromised.

3. Regular Software Updates:

  • Always update your software, operating systems, and apps.

4. Beware of Phishing Attacks:

  • Be cautious with links and attachments in emails from strangers.
  • Check for signs like misspelled URLs or odd email addresses.

5. Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks:

  • Only connect to secure, password-protected Wi-Fi networks.
  • For public Wi-Fi, use a VPN for sensitive tasks.

6. Data Backup:

  • Back up important data regularly to an external drive or cloud service.

7. Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software:

  • Install and update antivirus and anti-malware software on all your devices.

8. Social Media Settings:

  • Check and adjust your social media privacy settings.
    Keep personal information private.

9. Secure Your Devices:

  • Protect your devices with strong passwords or biometric locks.

10. Educate and Stay Informed:

  • Participate in cybersecurity training to stay aware and prepared.

Schedule your Cybersecurity Assessment Today

The insights from the National Cybersecurity Alliance and CybSafe’s report illuminate the critical gaps in our collective digital security practices and underscore the importance of a proactive approach to cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity is not just a technical challenge but a human one. By fostering a culture of security awareness and adopting robust security practices, we can all contribute to a safer digital and business environment.

Interested in bolstering your or your organization’s cybersecurity posture? Get in touch today for your free Cybersecurity Assessment.