What is the impact of social engineering attacks?

Did you know that more than half of all businesses become a target of a social engineering or spear phishing attack every year? The figure is truly scary and in today’s world, social engineering is one of the biggest threats both small and large businesses face in the cybersecurity world. And yet many business owners refuse to invest in their company’s cybersecurity for many reasons. If you’re still hesitating about hiring a cybersecurity company to consult your business, take a look at these five consequences of social engineering attacks to help you make your choice:

Financial losses as a result of social engineering attacks

This is perhaps the one consequence of hacker attacks that everyone knows about – the amount of money the company loses directly as a result of a social engineering attack. Depending on the size of your company and the greed of the attacker, this number can range anywhere from $20,000 to millions of dollars. 

Loss of productivity as a result of a social engineering cyber attack

Any successful cyber attack causes a huge disruption of normal business operations. The IT team and several management-level employees need to postpone their other tasks in order to deal with the breach, all employees need to be updated about the hack and trained to prevent the same attack in the future, etc. All of this takes away time from the employee’s duties and significantly lowers productivity. 

The cost of recovering after a social engineering attack

Another common cost associated with spear-phishing attacks is the recovery cost, which represents the amount of money needed to hire an incident response team, purchase software that will prevent the same attack from occurring in the future and resolve the issue with the customers if their data was stolen during the attack. 

Cyber-attacks cause business disruption

This consequence of social engineering is similar to the loss of productivity but it measures the impact of the hack on your customer satisfaction rates and your supply chain. Since a successful hacker attack disrupts your normal business operations, your business may experience downtime in product manufacturing, shipping or other operations. This can cause you to lose customers or even suppliers. Plus, your insurance company and your bank may want to audit your company’s cybersecurity practices after the breach. 

Social engineering hacks cause huge damage to your reputation

If you were a customer or a supplier of a company that experienced a significant cybersecurity breach, how likely would you be to trust this company again? Would you continue to do business with this company? Unfortunately, for many businesses and, the answer is ‘no’ – people don’t want to put themselves and their information in danger so a lot of businesses lose a significant number of customers and suppliers after a security breach. 

Frequently asked questions about social engineering attack impact

What is social engineering?

Social engineering is a technique scammers use to manipulate people, for instance, employees at a company, to reveal sensitive and private information to them. 

How much money do companies lose after a social engineering attack?

The average cost of a successful social engineering attack is around $130,000, although for larger businesses this figure can easily be in the millions and even billions of dollars. 

How to protect my business from social engineering attacks?

The best way to keep your business safe in case of a social engineering attempt is to regularly train and test your employees, which is something HackControl can help you with.

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    Vitaly is a principal consultant at Hackcontrol as wall as aa business and IT thought leader. He has over 15 years of experience in consulting, account management and is a specialist in cybersecurity.