In today’s tumultuous world, it is no longer only in Hollywood movies that you see cyber criminals at large; wreaking havoc on unsuspecting companies and individuals. It is a real and present threat that can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime.
It has been estimated in the 2017 Global Economic Crime Survey that upwards of 32% of international businesses were affected by cyber crime alone, which makes it the 2nd most fraudulent economic financial crime reported by businesses and individuals across the globe.
Cyber threats are unseen, silent and can be vicious in nature. Ransomware attacks are on the rise where cyber criminal organizations will attack a corporation’s servers and essentially hold their information and data hostage until there is a cash payout.
Simply put, cyber criminals gain access to the system through one of many means, they put a lock down on valuable and vital data and do not release the stolen data until they receive their ransom.
Financial firms, banks, health care providers and retailers are among the most regularly attacked organizations, but we are all at risk. Our infrastructure, gas lines and power grids are all equally in jeopardy.
There are common cyber risks that are the most familiar ways that cyber attacks happen and can cost millions in losses to the victims.
There are several common avenues that are taken by cyber criminals to access a system including:
- When untrusted data is allowed into a system via email
- Excess data is forced into a system that then overflows the buffers that are in place allowing the virus to operate outside these parameters and make them difficult to detect
SENSITIVE DATA EXPOSURE
- Hacking into permanent files that are held to protect personal privacy laws
- Passwords are used by hackers to gain direct access to many system programs masked as an authorized user.
- Running outdated software and not updating factory setting to custom systems.
Establishments around the world need to understand that it is time to take cyber security seriously. The menace is real, and it is happening now. There are many ways to safeguard your systems, however, with the level and viciousness of the attacks happening presently, it will take more than simple anti-virus software to stop a damaging attack.
IT professionals and security personnel need to be vigilant in waging the war on cyber crime and security if they want to guarantee that their businesses will survive an attempted attack. There are simple guidelines that can be followed across the board to ensure that your files are protected from risk.
- Educate your staff about the threats that are the most common
- Invest capital in cyber security and advanced protection avenues
- Store your vital and confidential data offsite at a Cloud location
- Establish strong passwords and authentication processes that change on a regular basis
- Install strong, professional level firewalls on all systems
- Invest in top rated Anti-virus software
- Update all program systems frequently
- Secure all laptops and portable devices that contain or transfer any important information
- Schedule consistent back ups to all systems separately
- Have continuous system monitoring
- Restrict email, IMS and web surfing activities
While taking these precautions is an excellent start to defending your business, it is good to remember that cyber criminals, hackers and threat actors are getting bigger, bolder and brighter. It can seem like each defence is met with a new way to access files and create a new cyber risk.
With continued education, being proactive regarding threat levels and updating your security, you can give your business an place on a level playing field and help protect yourself and your business from cyber crime.