Hacking is costing businesses millions more as sophisticated criminal networks determined to steal information for financial gain have replaced the individuals who were commonplace in the early years of the internet, and Arkansas is not immune.
Local experts say data breaches in the state are on the rise, following a global trend, but companies can prevent them with preparation and limit damage by having a plan for when they fall victim to a breach.
Mandy Stanton and Anton Janik of the Mitchell Williams law firm in Little Rock have formed a team to help clients protect their data.
“What the folks that have been doing the meta-analysis of this data protection issue are saying is that we have switched between the lone hacker, out there for laughs, trying to make a name in the hacker universe by saying, ‘Oh, look, I got this number of credit cards,’ to real identifiable criminal networks that are going after this information because it has real monetary value,” Janik said.
That value is $7.7 million, which is the average cost of a cybercrime per company, according to the Ponemon Institute’s 2015 Cost of Cyber Crime Study, sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise of California.
Companies experiencing a breach could also face a cash flow interruption because the payment card industry might withhold reimbursements until the victims pay a fine for not being in compliance with data protection standards, said Drake Mann of the Gill Ragon Owen law firm in Little Rock.
The Ponemon study also found that the number of successful attacks per year per company had grown by almost half in four years, from 68 in 2012 to 99 in 2015, and the average time needed to resolve incidents had tripled to 46 days.
But a number of measures could reduce the average cost of a cybercrime per company a quarter, the study concludes.
In Arkansas, Janik and Stanton said, one of the most common cybersecurity schemes has been hackers spoofing the email of a CEO or CFO and requesting sensitive information, like W-2 data, from other executives or instructing that a check be cut.