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How Can I Protect My Business Against Cybercrime

Cybercrime is any criminal activity carried out over the internet, and since this type of crime is on the rise, it is more essential than ever to protect your business from it. As well as increasing prevalence, cyber-attacks are growing more sophisticated, using artificial intelligence to get past security controls and target sensitive data. It also makes little difference whether your organization is a small one or a multinational like Yahoo – we are all at risk.

Examples Of Cybercrime

The most common type of cybercrime is the stealing of credit card information which is then used to buy goods or services online illegally. Attackers also target user accounts to gain access to people’s private information, enabling them to steal people’s identities. As many devices, such as mobile phones, are now connected to the internet, criminals take advantage of any vulnerabilities they find in the software to disrupt services like PayPal, Twitter, or Netflix.

Similarly, the use of ransomware has increased, causing victims to have to pay thousands of pounds to get their data restored. Corporate networks are occasionally subjected to phishing campaigns, wherein criminals send authentic-looking, yet fraudulent emails, convincing them to click on links or download attachments, which then spread malware or viruses throughout their systems. Even highly regulated agencies, such as the government, are not immune to such attacks as criminals hack into websites to tamper with sensitive data.

The Impact Of Cybercrime

Your business can be damaged by cybercrime in more than one way. For example, the theft of intellectual property, the disruption of trade, the cost of repair to damaged systems, and the loss of corporate information all create an economical cost. A cyber attack can quickly cause consumers to lose trust in your ability to keep their data safe, damaging your reputation and causing them to turn to your competitors. Furthermore, you may see a decline in the value of your business as investor perception is affected. A breach of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and other data laws may also cause you to suffer sanctions or fines.

The Need For Cybersecurity

In 2020, cybercrime cost the UK £27 billion – roughly £2,670 per business, and as we load more identity information onto the internet through cloud services, the theft of this information is becoming the fastest-growing area of cybercrime. However, as these criminals become more sophisticated, so do their attacks, changing how and what they target. They even disrupt or destroy industrial infrastructures, such as power grids. It doesn’t help that we outsource the processing of data to third and fourth-party vendors who don’t always have tight cybersecurity practices themselves.

The global, distributed nature of the internet, the proliferation of smart devices connected to it, the growing ease and profitability of commerce on the dark web, and the ability of criminals to attack international targets make the risk management of information more important than ever.

What You Can Do

It is becoming increasingly difficult for different businesses to safeguard against cyber attacks, but there are a few things that you can do. Start by using a firewall that protects against hackers, viruses, and malware, and keep it up-to-date so that you are able to identify and quickly respond to any threats quickly. Use antivirus software that will recognize malware before it has a chance to infect your system and avoid the use of modified software that could impose a risk to your data. Have all your data and systems backed up so that you can easily recover them if anything does go wrong. Hide your IP addresses by using a virtual private network (VPN) and restrict access to the most valuable data within your organization.

Educate Staff

Approximately 90% of data breaches are caused by human error, so just educating your staff on how to recognize and respond to cyber threats can reduce this percentage significantly. Train them in GDPR and how to keep personal data safe.

Invest In Cybersecurity Services

Invest in cybersecurity services that provide endpoint protection, safeguarding your system against threats. Experts will block access to harmful websites so that your employees cannot access them by accident when browsing the internet. They also actively check for ransomware and react as soon as any files are encrypted. Furthermore, they backup your data to ensure it can be restored should anything go wrong.

Look for a consultancy that is able to provide penetration testing wherein key vulnerabilities in your business operations are identified. By simulating real-life cyber-attacks, they can better prepare and protect your business. Through the implementation of the correct controls and ISO frameworks, you will be able to adhere to regulatory compliance. Additionally, they can check for any security issues within software or devices supplied by third parties.

The Takeaway

Off-the-shelf cybersecurity software is no longer enough to protect businesses from cybercriminals. More robust and adaptable solutions are needed to safeguard systems and a proactive approach is required to keep on top of the latest tactics being used. It is better to apply a variety of techniques to defend against a breach of data than to bear the financial and reputational costs of an attack. 

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