Top 3 Industries Targeted By Hackers

An interactive cyber threat tracker published by Fire Eye reveals the top 3 industries hackers around the world are targeting.3 (1)

Based on attacks launched within the last 30 days, the following sectors have been targeted at the highest rate:

Higher Education

The trend is nothing new. In 2013, the New York Timesreported that universities were facing an increasing number of cyber attacks, many of which were stemming from China.

University of Wisconsin Dean for Research Policy, Bill Mellon, told the Times the university system encountered 90,000 to 10,000 attempts each day from China, with additional attempts originating from Russia and Vietnam.

That’s a lot, but no longer surprising.

Within two weeks this spring, the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University and colleges in North Dakota, Indiana and Pennsylvania had their systems breached. In all of 2013, more than 2.5 million social security and bank account numbers through the Arizona community college system were made vulnerable due to attacks.

Energy/Utilities, Petroleum Refineries

In July, Bloomberg reported that a Russian group of hackers was targeting U.S. and European energy companies. The group, known as “Energetic Bear” and “Dragonfly,” was alleged to be hacking for political purpose.

According to Symantec, targets included energy grid operators, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipeline operations and industrial energy providers.

“The Dragonfly group is well resourced, with a range of malware tools at its disposal and is capable of launching attacks through a number of different vendors,” a Symantec blog post states.

In 2013, two U.S. Congressmen sent out surveys to 150 utilities throughout the country regarding the rate of cyber attacks they face. One company, labeled only as a “Midwestern power provider,” indicated it was subject to ongoing malicious cyber activity with daily attempts to probe networks for vulnerabilities.


In 2013, Facebook was targeted by hackers in what was dubbed a “sophisticated” attack.

Facebook’s security team discovered the attack after an employee visited a mobile application developer website, which had apparently been compromised. As a result, malware infected the employee’s computer system.

Not too long after, Apple announced it had also been attacked. Apple indicated its employee computers had been infected with the same malware.