30+ Fear-Inducing Cyber Security Statistics

30+ Fear-Inducing Cyber Security Statistics
ByIvana V.
December 02,2020

A business in the 21st century cannot be run offline. Everything from advertising to accounting benefits from the world wide web in some way, shape, or form. However, the dark underbelly of the internet shows itself in the form of cyber attacks on businesses. Cyber security statistics in 2018 show there are an average of 142 attacks on organizations annually. And while the number of cyber attacks per year is increasing, most small businesses spend less than $500 annually on IT security.

What follows is a list of cyber attacks stats, detailing their impact on small businesses and big corporations, the numbers on recent cyber crimes, and the best strategies to deal with them.

Editor’s Choice:

  • Nearly half of all small businesses have suffered a cyber attack in 2018. 
  • A projected 146 billion records will be exposed in the five year period between 2018 and 2023, data breaches statistics show.
  • In 2018, 52,48% of all mail traffic was spam.
  • In 2017, US consumer losses to cyber attacks totalled $19.4 billion.

Small Business Cyber Security Statistics

Nearly half of all small businesses suffered a cyber attack in 2018.


Cyber security attacks are becoming the new norm, insurance provider Hiscox reports. 47% of small businesses in the US have had at least one attack in the last year, 44% of those having two to four registered attacks. The most common insurance claims in the cyber security sector include ransomware, hackers, and loss or misuse of data. While 66% of small businesses say they are afraid of cyber attacks, the vast majority do not employ even the most basic protection measures.


A data breach doesn’t have to be an elaborate scheme. It can be as simple as a stolen laptop with unencrypted delicate information. Mishaps like these, as well as organized hacker attacks, can cost your business tens of thousands of dollars in lawsuits, lost contracts and work hours to remedy the situation. Cyber security statistics show big companies (more than 1,000 employees) lost more than a million dollars on average annually due to security breaches.

Most small businesses spend less than $500 a year on cybersecurity.


Small businesses take up just 13% of the cyber security market, even though 99% of all companies fall into this category. Companies of this size usually use consumer grade products, cyber security statistics show.

However, with the digitization process fully under way for most of the market, small businesses are slowly but surely becoming more and more vulnerable, according to cyber security attacks statistics.

Two thirds of small businesses do not take the necessary follow up steps after a cyber attack has taken place.


We usually need a shocking experience to jolt us into preparing for the worst. However, a cyber security report published by the insurance company Hiscox claims 65% of small businesses do not take data safety seriously even after suffering an attack.

The three steps to a successful strategy are:

    • Prevention - Setting up proper security measures, allowing space for it in your yearly budget, and educating your employees. 
    • Detection -  Monitoring critical networks and logging security violations both manually and automatically.
    • Mitigation - Being prepared for any situation and having a dedicated team on alert at all times.

60% of small businesses go out of business six months after a cyber attack.

(Denver Post)

Small companies seem to think cyber attacks are always something that happens to the neighbors. In reality, all it takes to jeopardize an entire business is one haphazard click on a link in a phishy email. According to information security statistics published by the Ponemon Institute, a hacker attack will cost a small business $690.000 on average, enough to put 60% of victims out of business within a six month period after it happens.

Assorted Malware and Ransomware Statistics

According to the latest ransomware statistics, overall occurrences of ransomware attacks went down by 20% in 2018, but the number of attacks on enterprises went up 12%.


Ransomware is malicious software that attackers use to encrypt files on the victim’s computer. After locking them out of their files, the attackers demand ransom from the victims in exchange for unlocking their files. This is one of the most common types of cyber security breaches.

Since most ransomware attacks go through Windows operating systems and more and more people use mobile devices exclusively, the number is declining.

Big enterprises usually communicate through emails, so they are still prime targets for this type of cyber security attack.

48% of all malicious email attachments in 2018 were Windows Office files.


Employees open a massive amount of emails every day. The easiest way for hackers to perform network security attacks is disguising malicious code as an invoice or receipt. One in every 412 emails had a malicious attachment in 2018.

Large companies held a 60% share of the cyber security market in 2017, but that is soon going to change.

(PR Newswire)

Due to the increase in policies encouraging small business employees to bring their own devices to work, cyber attacks in SME are on the rise. Accessing confidential information through privately owned technology is a security hazard. This, in conjunction with the fact that the cost of the average cyber attack rose by 11% in 2017 alone, means that IT security is anticipated to be a key issue in the small business ecosystem.

Over 200,000 individuals and more than 300,000 computers were affected by the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack.


In May 2017, hackers used holes in outdated Windows software to infiltrate and encrypt files on more than 300,000 computers worldwide. Some of the world’s leading nations, including the US and the UK, agreed that North Korean hackers were behind the recent cyber attacks. The attack lasted for 4 days and targeted PCs in 150 countries. The “file kidnappers” demanded $300 to $600 in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency for ransom, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

According to ransomware statistics from 2018, 96% of all attacks targeted medical centers.

(PR Newswire)

It turns out that hospitals are very vulnerable to cyber attacks. Hackers know institutions of this type must address security breaches quickly because people’s lives are literally on the line. With widespread implementation of the internet of things (IoT) combined with subpar security staff training, hospitals are easy prey for cyber criminals. Hospital employees open one out of every seven phishing emails, so 75% of medical centers in the US are infected by malware.

4,800 e-commerce sites a month were victims of formjacking software in 2018.


A hacker uses malicious code to reach credit card details from online shop users. This is called formjacking, and it is the way the latest cyber attacks usually carry out. A single set of credit card information can be sold for $45 on the underground market. This means that if criminals steal information from just ten credit cards from a single site, they would accumulate a lot of money.

Cryptojacking had a 52% decrease in popularity in 2018.


Cryptojacking security attacks unfold when a hacker takes over part of the victim’s CPU for cryptocurrency mining. The victim’s computer is slowed down and sometimes rendered unusable.

The profitability, and therefore the frequency, of cryptojacking is directly tied to the value of cryptocurrency. That’s the reason behind the procedure’s dropping popularity. However, while some altcoins like Monero have depreciated in value by 90%, cryptojacking has become just 52% less frequent.

In 2018, 52,48% of all mail traffic was spam.


The antivirus software providers had loads of work in the previous year - the Kaspersky Anti-Phishing system was triggered 482,465,211 times. Yet, because of new legislation regarding internet security, the total number of spam emails in 2018 was less than in the previous year. China was responsible for 11.69% of all spam, the biggest share a single nation held, phishing statistics for 2018 show.

The WannaCry global ransomware attack cost the UK’s National Health Service an estimated £92 million.

(UK Gov)

In one of the most recent cyber attacks, the WannaCry ransomware attack, some 19,000 doctor’s appointments in the UK were cancelled. The 2017 attack took advantage of the fact that many Windows operated machines were not properly patched to break into the systems and encrypt the files for ransom.

More than 20% of emails inboxes in Brazil were attacked by phishers, a bigger share than in any other country in the world.


Phishing statistics published by one of the world’s leading antivirus software developers, Kaspersky, show one in every five Brazilian internet users was a target of phishing attacks. Australia is in second place, with 17.20%, and Spain is in close third with 16.96%.

In the first three months of 2019, Kaspersky prevented almost 112 million attempts to redirect users to scam websites.

General Cyber Security Statistics

The average number of attacks against an organization in 2018 is 145, up from 130 in 2017.


Cyber attack statistics by year indicate that there has been a 67% increase in security breaches in the last five years. Accenture, the publisher of this study, defines cyberattacks as “malicious activity conducted against the organization through the IT infrastructure via the internal or external networks, or the Internet.”

A projected 146 billion records will be exposed in the five year period between 2018 and 2023, data breaches statistics suggest.


Juniper’s 2018 study predicts that this is the number of actual breaches, not reported breaches. The new legislature prescribing mandatory reports will lead to 90% of breaches in North America being known. The US will stay at the top of the list of priorities for hackers, since that’s where the most valuable information is.

500 million data records were breached from Marriot’s Starwoods Hotel in one of the largest 2018 cyber attacks.

(USA Today)

The hospitality industry remains one of the most vulnerable. Chinese hackers are suspected to be behind the attack on Starwoods Hotel discovered in September 2018. The breach is considered to be one of the biggest cyber attacks in history, with valuable and personal travel information of hotel guests dating back from 2014, many of them politicians and diplomats.

American companies lose the most funds from cyberattacks annually - $27.37 million on average.


That’s twice as much as the second most expensive country to get hacked, Japan ($13 million annually). Recent cyber attacks in 2018 in the UK increased compared to the year before by 30%.

In 2017, US consumer losses to cyber attacks totalled $19.4 billion.


More than half of the adult US population, 143 million people, were victims of online theft, cyber attacks statistics show. Poor password hygiene - namely using the same password for multiple accounts - is the biggest reason behind the latest security breaches. An average victim will lose 20 hours remedying the effects of an online attack.

The US Federal Government’s budget for cybersecurity in 2019 was $15 billion.

(White House)

This represents an increase of $594 million compared to 2018. According to the information security stats, the Department of Defense is the biggest contributor with over $8.5 billion reported investments.

Information leaks are the most costly consequence of cyber attacks, with organizations losing almost $6 million annually from them.


Accenture recognizes four categories of cyber attack consequences:

  1. Business disruption
  2. Information loss
  3. Revenue loss
  4. Equipment damage

Out of these four, the most costly in recent security breaches, is information theft. Information loss is most commonly caused by malware and web based attacks. Denial of service (DoS) attacks do most business disruption, costing companies $1.1 million in revenue annually.

There is a hacker attack every 39 seconds, according to a study done by experts at the University of Maryland.


Security Magazine cited the University of Maryland when they published one of the most alarming cyber security facts - a hacker attack happens each 39 seconds.

The experiment consisted of setting up four computers running the Linux operating system with poor security measures. The research team monitored the activity. Most attackers used simple, brute force “dictionary” software which tries to open up computers by trying common account name and password combinations. The computers were attacked 2.244 times a day, chief researcher Michel Cukier said.

Computer security news show 90% of all security breaches are due to human error.

(Chief Executive)

While investing in cyber security hardware and defense systems may seem like the most logical measure against cyber crime, staff training is actually the best investment a CEO can make. Teaching employees to not fall for simple tricks like impersonations of company executives and other phishing tactics by applying some common sense will yield the best results.

97% of companies with the best cyber security measures have an extensive staff training program.


Raising data security awareness through training is the most vital step to make in order to increase data safety. It’s also important to have a defined emergency strategy, make changes after a breach happens, and have insurance, according to cybersecurity statistics.

Seven out of ten businesses are not prepared for a data breach emergency.


In spite of the fact that recent data breaches have demonstrated no company under the sun is safe from a cyber attack, a study including interviews with 4100 professionals in leadership positions has found that 70% of businesses are completely unfit to handle a cyber attack. Information security stats show big companies lose $1.05 million on average annually from insufficient hacker defense.

A cyber security breach has been identified in 32% of business in the UK in 2018.


A study dealing with cyber awareness from 2019 revealed that one third of all businesses and over a fifth of charities in the UK have had come under attack in the last 12 months. Of those attacked, roughly a third needed new measures for protection.

The cyber security market will be worth an estimated $300 billion in 2024.

(PR Newswire)

The rise of cyber crime and computer related attacks has led to an increasing need for cyber security services. Cyber security statistics from 2017 show the market was worth $120 billion back then, and projections show it will be worth $300 billion in 2024.

20% of the workforce in the cybersecurity industry will be female by the end of 2019.

(PR Newswire)

While the balance of gender representation is still off kilt, more and more women are taking key roles in all branches of the cybersecurity industry, cyber security industry stats show. The total ratio is still far from 50%, but the RSA Conference 2019, the industry’s biggest conference featuring more than 40.000 visitors and participants, hosted 46% female keynote speakers.

High risk applications can be found in one in thirty-six mobile phones.


The overall number of malware infections has dropped in the previous year, but the number of ransomware infections has been on the rise. There were 33% more than in 2017. Cyber attacks statistics for 2018 show most ransomware attacks happened in the US - 63%.

75% of smart devices that get infected by malware are routers.


Hackers use routers as a spring-board to other devices. They are also the easiest to reach, given their connection to the internet.

Europe had a 20% share of the cyber security industry in 2017; that percentage is estimated to grow exponentially.

(PR Newswire)

Due to massive government investments in cyber security in Europe, the market share in this region is expected to rise exponentially. The massive industrialization and the rising number of mobile devices users in Asia-Pacific also indicate that the region will experience a 20% CAGR in the next 5 years, according to cyber security stats.

30 million users’ personal data was compromised in a Facebook data leak in a recent cyber attack.

(The Guardian)

As if the Cambridge Analytica scandal did not shake the trust Facebook’s community puts in the most popular social network in the world, recent cyber attacks in 2018 affected 30 million profiles. Fortunately, no credit card information was leaked during the attacks.

In the UK, cyber attacks cost charities twice as much money annually as they do businesses.


On average, charities that have been targeted by cyber attack lose £9,470 a year because of leaked data, compared to the £4,180 damage suffered by businesses. A third of charities had to take up staff time to take care of the breaches, a fifth had staff that had to halt daily work completely. A monthly breach is identified in 39% of charities, according to cyber security statistics.

About author

Ivana is a staff writer at SmallBizGenius. Her interests during office hours include writing about small businesses, start-ups, and retail. When the weekend comes, you can find her hiking in nature, hanging off of a cliff or dancing salsa.

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Women account for 50.8% of the US population, hold 57% of all undergraduate degrees, and approximately 60% of all master’s degrees. And even though they hold about 52% of all management-level jobs, American women cannot keep pace with men in terms of representation when it comes to top leadership roles.  As male vs. female CEO statistics show, it’s the profit and loss roles or P&L responsibilities such as leading a brand, unit, or division, that set executives on the track to becoming a CEO. On the other hand, women who advance into C-suites - the “chief” jobs in companies - typically take on the roles such as head of human resources, legal, or administration. Although all of these functions are extremely important, the line of work they focus on doesn’t involve profit-generating responsibilities, which rarely makes them a path to running a company. Why does the percentage of CEOs that are female remain low in all parts of the world? There isn’t a simple answer to this question. 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