Reputation damage after cyber attacks
A company's reputation is, without a doubt, a high-value asset, as it shapes the perception that customers, partners, and the public have about the brand. In an increasingly digitalized scenario, where online presence is of great importance, cybersecurity emerges as a fundamental pillar to sustain a good reputation. Therefore, cyber-attacks, whether through ransomware or malware, represent a serious threat.
What are 'cyber attacks'?
Cyberattacks go far beyond leaking company and customer data, and directly impact the trust placed in the organization, leaving lasting negative consequences that extend beyond the virtual world.
Malware, an abbreviation for "malicious software", is a type of harmful program that gains access to a computer through traps during the installation of an infected program. Once infiltrated, it monitors user activities and collects data, resulting in unknown damage to both the device and the network.
Ransomware is a specific category of malicious software that hijacks the computer, restricting access until a ransom is paid, usually in crypto assets, to avoid tracking the money. Currently, instead of locking down the entire system, ransomware encrypts individual files, requiring a private key known only to the attackers. However, paying the ransom does not guarantee recovery of the hijacked data.
Direct financial loss
Now, knowing better the types of attacks, it is necessary to understand the losses. Of course, direct financial losses are especially impactful. When hackers attack, they often demand payment, which results in an immediate cost to the affected company. This cost can be quite high depending on the severity of the attack.
In addition, the company still has expenses to recover and restore compromised systems, hire digital security experts to repair the damage, and invest in team training to reinforce security. These extra expenses can unbalance the organization's budget and impact its financial stability.
As an illustration, data recently released by Check Point Research shows an alarming increase in cyber-attacks on a global scale, with a significant growth of 7% in Brazil. These incidents not only result in considerable financial losses, but also significantly undermine customer confidence and damage the reputation of the affected companies.
In 2019, a study carried out by the National Cyber Security Alliance revealed that cyber-attacks caused average losses of approximately US$200,000 for small and medium-sized companies in the United States. At the same time, the renowned consultancy firm Gartner estimated that total damage from cyber-attacks reached the alarming mark of US$128 billion in the same year.
These numbers are equally significant in the Brazilian context, as released by IBM Security. Here, each cyber-attack resulted in an average cost of around US$1.35 million, representing a serious threat especially for small and medium-sized companies, which bear average losses of US$2.5 million per attack. These statistics highlight the financial magnitude of the impacts of cyber-attacks, highlighting the urgent need for investments in digital security to protect businesses and minimize such significant losses.
Weakening of the brand
When a company suffers cyber-attacks, damage arises in addition to operational and financial problems. An equally critical issue is the weakening of the brand. Customer trust, which is a fundamental part of commercial relationships, is affected. During the attack, customers are unable to access the company's services, as websites and systems become inoperable, and without knowing what is happening, they end up feeling injured by the company, believing it to be an internal operational error.
Together, the possible leakage of data into the wrong hands creates concern among users, and this distrust and insecurity caused by the attack can lead to a loss of customers, tarnishing the company's reputation, which is even more serious. Real cases, such as the cyber-attack against Grupo Americanas, the cryptocurrency broker Binance, and others clearly illustrate how harmful this type of occurrence is for companies. This highlights the urgency of investing in robust cybersecurity to minimize such risks and preserve customer trust.
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