Cybersecurity is an absolutely essential part of running a business that has a digital element in the modern world. This doesn’t necessarily mean businesses that operate in a digital sector – any business that has a website, uses email and processes orders and payments online needs to be aware of threats and security measures to combat them.
Cybercrime can cripple a business. It can expose confidential information about you, your clients or customers and various other entities. It can cost a great deal of money. There are rules and regulations in place to force businesses to take certain security measures and you must comply with these or face penalties. In this article, we will look at some of the most important questions about cybersecurity and cybercrime to give you a good idea of its importance and what you must do.
What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is a set of measures we can take to protect sensitive information and critical systems against digital attacks. It is an ever-evolving field that often involves robust identity confirmation processes and encryption of data to defend against breaches. These measures are designed to repel threats to networked systems and applications. These threats can originate from within an organisation and from outside.
Why is cybersecurity important?
Modern life is more dependent on technology than ever. This offers a range of benefits for businesses and just about everything else, but all this tech being networked to the internet means the data being exchanged is at risk. Malicious actors breaching systems and stealing data is the primary origin of fraud and also enables those actors to hold the stolen data to ransom.
It is estimated that cybercrime will cost the world $10.5 trillion per year by 2025, so it is of the utmost importance that we use the latest, most comprehensive cybersecurity measures to protect ourselves against this type of crime.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is a form of criminal activity that is committed using computers, computer networks or other forms of information communications technology. Common examples include hacking into networks to access confidential data, disrupting computer functionality by spreading computer viruses or malware, or things like Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. All of these aim to cripple systems and networks and/or steal information with the goal of financial gain.
Anyone can be a victim of cybercrime, whether you are an individual, small business or international conglomerate. People commit these crimes in various ways, such as using advanced computing skills to create and distribute malware or scams and schemes to trick people into giving you access to systems.
What are some examples of cybercrime?
Cybercriminals seek to exploit vulnerabilities in humans or their systems to steal data or inhibit their operations. The most common examples of cybercrime include:
- Hacking: this includes gaining entry to social media and email accounts.
- Malicious software: this includes spyware, viruses and ransomware, through which criminals hijack data and hold it for ransom.
- Phishing: this generally takes the form of bogus emails that trick people into giving away personal details or security information.
- DDoS attacks: these flood websites with fake traffic to cripple their operations, often accompanied by extortion.
- Insider threats: current or former employees, contractors, business partners and the like with access to your systems can be considered an insider threat. They can be difficult to defend against since they know how to bypass security.
- Main-in-the-middle attacks: this is an eavesdropping attack, where communications are intercepted in order to steal data. This can happen on an unsecured WiFi network, for example.
There have been some enormous cyberattacks in the past. For example, in 2007, Estonia was bombarded by a massive cyberattack that destabilised its infrastructure and economy. In 2020, the infamous SolarWinds cyberattack occurred, wherein malware breached the software of the company’s supply chain via an update, giving the hackers unfettered access to thousands of US organisations including the government.
What is phishing?
Perhaps the most common form of cybercrime, phishing is a form of scam usually delivered via email. It typically involves the cybercriminal posing as a trusted brand that many customers have accounts with – often online retailers, banks, couriers, etc.
The email seeks to fool the recipient into thinking the brand it poses as needs them to update some information or provide personal details for a transaction that never actually occurred. When you enter those details, you are unintentionally exposing yourself (or the organisation you work for) by revealing confidential information to the scammer.
Most people are very familiar with these types of scams. Phishing is something we deal with almost daily, but through the sheer volume of phishing emails sent out, criminals are able to fool many people. What’s more, their methods are becoming increasingly sophisticated and they can be very convincing, so even people with experience in avoiding phishing emails can fall victim.
What is the aim of cybercriminals?
The aims of cybercriminals typically vary between attempting to steal valuable or confidential data, spying on the activities of rivals, extorting or stealing money directly or simply crippling the victim’s systems and machines. Ultimately, it’s about personal financial gain or gaining an edge over the competition – this can even extend to entire countries spying on their neighbours.
Ultimately, cybercriminals are much like any other type of criminal. They are attempting to make money illegally at the expense of others. But their actions can have far-reaching consequences and cybercrime disasters can destroy a business, so you should always aim to have the strongest possible security measures in place.
Why is cybercrime on the rise?
The main reason cybercrime keeps increasing is that our reliance on technology continues to grow. With more and more of our business and personal lives and transactions taking place online, there are more and more opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities and reap their illicit profits.
Unless a game-changing new approach to networking and digital infrastructure takes over, cybercrime will always be here as long as we are so reliant on the internet and technology. Cybersecurity is the main thing holding these people back, so it is paramount that we never take anything for granted and make digital security a top priority.
How can you protect yourself from cybercrime?
Cybersecurity is the solution, and it comes in various forms. Things like antivirus software are important on devices and in networks, as well as firewalls. AI-driven software in communications like email can help identify and remove phishing attempts, while multi-level identification measures can help prevent intrusions by cybercriminals who have stolen login credentials. Another important measure is advanced data encryption.
Education and training are pieces of the puzzle as well. If individuals receive training in red flags to look out for when using email, social media and other systems, they are equipped to avoid potential dangers when they encounter them.
The best solution is a combination of all of the above – lots of software has these measures built in, and both individuals and businesses can invest in more robust cybersecurity systems when they have the need for them. Anyone can be a target, so it’s important to be equipped to deal with the threat.
If you want to ensure your business is protected against cyber attacks, it’s worth speaking to a professional and reputable agency who can help identify your cybersecurity requirements by carrying out a cybersecurity audit. This will expose vulnerabilities in your business which can then be rectified.
You can read more about the importance, purpose and process of carrying out a cybersecurity audit in our article What is a cybersecurity audit?
Why choose Eventura for a cybersecurity audit?
With over 20 years experience in cybersecurity, we know our stuff. Our team of cybersecurity experts and complete a full audit of your business and identify any areas of weakness, which could leave you vulnerable to cyberattacks.
We were even mentioned in the Governments National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) Annual Review 2020 when we were chosen to test their “Exercise in a Box” designed to help small businesses prepare and respond to cyberthreats. You can read the article here.
There is a common misconception that cyberattacks don’t happen to SMEs but this couldn’t be further from the truth. With our expert knowledge, we can help you protect your business’s future from the ever increasing threat of cybercriminals.
If you would like to speak to one of our cybersecurity experts or request a cybersecurity audit, you can request a free call back here.