2017 was a year marked by a number of high-profile cyber attacks and data breaches. These incidents highlighted the growing threat of cybercrime and the importance of cybersecurity for businesses and individuals alike.
One of the most notable events of the year was the WannaCry ransomware attack, which affected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries in May. The attack, which exploited a vulnerability in older versions of Windows, caused widespread disruption and resulted in billions of dollars in losses. This incident demonstrated the potential for ransomware attacks to cause significant damage on a global scale.
Another major incident was the Equifax data breach, which exposed the personal information of over 143 million customers, including Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses. The incident, which was considered one of the largest data breaches in history, led to significant criticism of Equifax's cybersecurity practices and resulted in a number of high-profile resignations.
2017 also saw a significant increase in attacks targeting IoT devices, with the Mirai botnet attack in 2016 raising awareness of the risks posed by insecure IoT devices. Additionally, the number of phishing attacks and business email compromise (BEC) scams continued to rise, with these attacks becoming increasingly sophisticated and targeted.
In response to these threats, businesses and organizations increased their spending on cybersecurity. According to a report by Gartner, global spending on information security was projected to reach $93 billion in 2017, an increase of 8.7% from the previous year. This included investments in security software, services, and personnel. Additionally, governments around the world began to take a more active role in cybersecurity, with the United States, for example, releasing a Cybersecurity Executive Order in 2017 to better protect against cyber threats.
However, despite these efforts, the threat of cyber attacks continued to grow in 2017. According to a report by Symantec, the number of new malware variants increased by 14% over the course of the year, and the number of mobile malware variants increased by 54%. Additionally, the number of data breaches reached an all-time high, with over 1,300 reported breaches resulting in the exposure of over 5 billion records.
2017 was also the year that the world realized the potential for state-sponsored hacking to interfere with the democratic process. In 2017, it was revealed that Russian state-sponsored hackers had breached the networks of the US political parties and released emails to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential elections. This event demonstrated the potential for nation-states to use cyber attacks as a tool of political influence, and it sparked concerns about the security of future elections.
In conclusion, 2017 was a year marked by a number of high-profile cyber attacks and data breaches. These incidents highlighted the growing threat of cybercrime and the importance of cybersecurity for businesses and individuals alike. Despite increased spending on cybersecurity and efforts by governments around the world, the threat of cyber attacks continued to grow in 2017. The year also saw the continuation of state-sponsored hacking to interfere with democratic processes, highlighting the need for better international cooperation in addressing cyber threats. Overall, 2017 demonstrated that cybersecurity is an ongoing challenge that requires constant vigilance and investment.