In the last ten years, technological advances and increased online platform use have allowed people around the world to become more informed, connected, and collaborative than ever.
On-the-go access to the internet lets us log on and explore news sites, donate to activist funds, and chat with long-distance loved ones at a moment’s notice.
And with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ability to remain in constant contact online with coworkers, family members, and even healthcare providers was a boon for many Americans.
But with 93% of U.S. adults reporting internet use in 2021, Americans may be more vulnerable than ever to hacking. In the last year alone, over 37 billion records were compromised and ransomware attacks were up 800%.
Cybercriminals capitalizing on the increased need for information during a global health crisis used Covid-19 lures to breach privacy controls and even went so far as to attack key industries, like aid organizations and government institutions, working towards solutions for the pandemic.
In the wreckage of Covid-19 was born a hacker’s paradise.
But where in the U.S. are these attacks concentrated, and how many people in each state have been affected? To find out, GetResponse turned to FBI hacking data. Read on for a snapshot of hacking in your state.
Internet Hacking—A New Kind of Pandemic
During a year loaded with anxiety, unemployment, and severance from loved ones, Americans looked to the Internet as a lifeline to the wider world. But cyberattacks in 2020 were as widespread and far-reaching as the effects of Covid-19—no state was safe.
Nevada, with 523 victims per 100K residents, saw significantly more hacking reports than any other state. Hacking reports were also prevalent in the country’s capital, Washington, D.C., with 302 victims per 100K residents—potentially risking national efforts for Covid-19 recovery. Reported attacks in Iowa followed closely, with 297 victims per 100K residents.
Internet users in Mississippi and South Dakota were able to surf at a lower risk, with only 83 and 88 victims per 100K residents, respectively.
Still, it’s important to remember these ratios account for individual victims.
In Mississippi, 2,478 people reported breaches of their privacy, while in South Dakota, 777 people were victimized. No matter where they lived or why they used the Internet, Americans across the country had to be increasingly concerned about their online safety—or experience harsh effects.
The Financial Impact of Internet Hacking
Cyberattacks, particularly those focused on business sectors like banks and hospitals, can lead to more than data disclosure and reputation damage; the financial impact of breaches and subsequent losses can be significant.
Interestingly, FBI data revealed some differences between states with high numbers of victims per capita and those with high dollar losses per capita.
North Dakotans, with 100 victims per 100K residents, lost almost $3.5 million to hacking, and New Yorkers, with 177 victims per capita, lost just over $2 million—both ranked relatively low for victim rates.
Conversely, D.C. residents experienced higher rates of hacking and lost almost $2.7 billion to cyberattacks in 2020. But South Dakotans, with lower rates of per capita victims, also lost significantly less than most other states, with $362,653 lost to cyberattacks.
If there’s one conclusion we can draw from this data, it’s that online safety is more important than ever. As business owners and Internet users across the United States navigate post-pandemic operations, workplaces, and online transactions, there are some things they can do to protect themselves and their businesses from cybercrime.
- Install a full-service Internet security suite to protect your personal and financial information from malware.
- Keep your software updated to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting software flaws.
- Use a virtual private network, at home or for your business, to prevent hackers from intercepting unencrypted data.
- Ensure legitimate hosting for your personal blog or online retail site through a dedicated server provided by an SSL-certified website builder.
Using these tips to protect your private information from cyber criminals means you can continue connecting, collaborating, shopping, and more online with peace of mind. From all of us at GetResponse, browse safely!