Cyber Security

What Types of Organizations Are Most Vulnerable to Hacks and Data Breaches?

Cybercrime and data breaches are unfortunately on the rise, and many different types of businesses are often targeted. The average data breach costs a business almost $4 million, so it makes sense that defending against these kinds of attacks is a huge priority for many different companies and organizations.

Although businesses of all kinds have been targeted by hackers and cybercriminals, there are specific sectors that are particularly heavily targeted. In this guide, we will explore which fields are the most vulnerable to hacks and data breaches.


You have probably heard various stories about secret services from all over the world hacking into (or attempting to hack into) government websites and databases. However, this is not limited to the highest levels of government and is not always carried out by foreign governments. Government agencies and local government services are also targeted, often by amateur hackers. For example, databases containing sensitive data such as social security numbers, fingerprints, and criminal records are often targeted.


Because of the need to store potentially sensitive medical information on members of the public, healthcare providers are often targeted by hackers. In fact, it has been estimated that almost 30 million stolen patient records have been sold on the dark net!

Ransomware attacks—where attackers demand the payment of huge ransoms in return for giving back stolen data—are the main type of attacks that are carried out on healthcare institutions. Ultimately, the main motive of most cybercriminals is simply financial gain.

Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

While large corporations such as Sony, Amazon, and JP Morgan have been the victims of very well-publicized hacks, the vast majority of data breaches target SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses). The particular industries that are most frequently targeted include financial institutions, retailers, and e-commerce stores.

If you are running a business, there are ways that you can reduce the risk of data breaches. Using up-to-date anti-virus software, keeping all of your other software updated, and ensuring that your employees follow defined data protection measures can all reduce the chances of being hacked. If you want to learn even more about how to keep your online systems secure, courses like the AWS security certification path can give you extra knowledge of cybersecurity.

Energy Companies

Energy providers are often targeted by hackers who aim to disrupt networks (including power grids, natural gas pipelines, wind turbine stations, and nuclear facilities) and cause power outages.

In some cases, these hacks are an attempt to cause political destabilization, and in other cases hackers are carrying out simple ransomware attacks.


The education sector, particularly higher education, is a very frequent target for hackers. In fact, the last 10 years saw over 500 breaches of university and college security, and the unauthorized access of around 13 million student records.

Institutions including Harvard College and Penn State University have been breached, as well as a number of others. In addition to this, high schools, elementary schools, and even kindergartens have been the targets of data breaches.

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