CEOs Should be Concerned about Cyberattacks Targeting Intellectual Property or Insider Strategy

When we think about cyberattacks on business, we often think of data breach, specifically the breach of consumer information the business might hold.

Target, Home Depot, Yahoo.

These are recent, well-publicized examples that might pop into your brain.

But what about the attacks that don’t make headlines, where instead of consumer information, intellectual property is compromised?

That’s just what a new report from KPMG and Forbes Insights brings to light. According to the report, somewhere around one-third of data breaches result in a leak of corporate data.

Dubbed “beneath the covers” attacks in this Forbes story aptly titled “The Cyberattacks We Don’t Hear About But Should,” it’s these cyberattacks targeting proprietary corporate info that likely keep some CEOs up at night.

“CEOs recognized cybersecurity as the top risk faced by their organizations. Last year, cyber risk did not even rank in the top five risks,” according to the Cybersecurity portion of the report.

Also according to the report, only 26 percent of CEOs feel their company is “fully prepared” for a cyber event.

The report is based on a survey of 1,268 chief executives from the United States as well as Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain and the U.K. The survey was conducted in March and April of 2016 and the CEOs were nearly evenly divided between the private and public sector.

Greg Bell, Co-Leader, Global Cyber Security at KPMG International, is quoted in the report, as well as in the Forbes story.

Bell categorizes the “beneath the covers” attacks into three types.

  1. One that seeks broad competitive information, like intellectual property or pricing information.
  2. Operational attacks that tamper with data or render critical data unavailable.
  3. Accessing conversations about mergers, acquisitions or other strategic plans.

“Such attacks can be very impactful on the ability to execute business strategy,” Bell said. “We’re seeing losses in billions of dollars. When unique intellectual property, the basis of competitive advantage, disappears overnight the outcomes can be disastrous.”


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