With readily available resources all over the internet with hacking “how-to’s” (eg. Gohacking, hacking-tutorial, CATB, and numerous others), it is no wonder that internet hacking is on the rise. In fact, there are numerous hacker conferences and conventions around running such as the Black Hat conference, H.O.P.E. conference, Summercon, ToorCon, and perhaps one of the largest hacker conferences; the DEF CON, held yearly in Las Vegas. These conferences form a platform for open dialogues and a gathering of attendees being between the best minds of the hacking world, leaders in the information security industry and the cyber community along with policymakers and government representatives on cyber security.
As our Internet grows, the average peak Internet speed worldwide grows comparably as well. But so does the number of cyberattacks. A research by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International showed that in the past 12 months, one in four Internet users had at least one of their online accounts hacked, which generated unauthorized messages being sent out in the user’s name requesting for personal information, passwords and other credentials. Often, these unsolicited messages will also contain malicious links, or lead to the loss or theft of private, personal data. The five most commonly used hacks usually reported were malware, phishing emails that send malicious links, network interruption, spyware that tracks computer activity and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks that flood the bandwidth of a system and overloads its Web traffic.
Chart source: Hackmageddon
The research revealed that the type of accounts targeted by hackers are ones that Internet users utilize routinely to keep in touch with their close friends, family or work as personal data and identities are the primal thirst for hackers. These targeted accounts by hackers which users access on a daily basis include email (11%), social media networks (11%), and online banking or shopping accounts (7%).
However, according to a study by CNNMoney and the Ponemon Institute, a cyber-security research firm, the statistics in the United States alone are even more shocking as roughly half of Americans (47%) have had their personal information exposed, with up to 432 million accounts being hacked. Each record typically includes personal information, such as names, debit/credit card, email, phone number, birthday, password, security questions and physical address.
Cyber-attacks and massive data breaches are growing so numerous that we are beginning to become numb to its news. Statistics of hacker cases remain merely another obscure number to us. Hacking has increased so much that companies are still lagging behind trying to protect themselves, as stated by a PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 2014 U.S. State of Cybercrime survey. Less than half of companies in the PWC Cybercrime survey stated that they had taken any necessary steps to protect themselves, as only 38% prioritized security investments based on the risks to their businesses. Mobile technologies and risks are rapidly increasing, but security efforts are not keeping up, with only 31% of companies having a security strategy for their mobile sector. Security training for new hires was not offered for 54% of the companies in the same survey. Cyber-attacks are an imminent challenge for companies and the common Internet-user alike. Albeit certain sectors such as finance and power systems will be the most susceptible to these attacks, there are noteworthy divides between the prepared and the unprepared.
“Cyber-attacks will become a pillar of warfare and terrorism between now and 2025. So much of a country’s infrastructure-commerce, finance, energy, education, health care-will be online, and gaining control of or disrupting a country’s online systems will become a critical goal in future conflicts.” – Joe Kochan, Chief Operating Officer at US Ignite.
“The Internet of Things is just emerging. In the future, control of physical assets, not just information, will be open to cyber-attack.” – Tim Kambitsch, activist Internet user.
To check if your current online behaviour may lead to vulnerability in account hacking, take this test to see if you are cyber-savvy.
 NBC News – Internet Speeds Are Rising Sharply, But So Are Hack Attacks
 Kaspersky – Kaspersky Lab Reveals 25% of Internet Users Had an Account Hacked in 2015
 U.S. News – Companies Unprepared as Hacking Increases
 Pew Research Center – Cyber Attacks Likely to Increase