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Cyber Crimes and the Threat They Pose to Your Business


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Regardless of whether you own a small, family sized business or a large company with lots of employees, nobody is invulnerable to attacks on the Internet. With things such as the Cyber Essentials initiative becoming a staple in the way of cyber security, the overall cyber crimes awareness has risen greatly in comparison to what it was in the not-so-distant past. Nowadays, having your company undergo such a test is a great way to express your concern about your customer’s data. However, they will not make your system impervious to attacks and it's important that you know what types of cyber crimes you can fall victim to and what can happen as a result.

Cyber Crimes Definition

Cyber crimes are a type of criminal activity conducted via the Internet, where an individual or a group of individuals aim to disturb the way in which your systems function, steal sensitive information or otherwise prevent your company from conducting its business. Just like with real life crimes, the motives can vary between cases – begrudged employees, ex-employees, financial motivations, etc. There are many different types of cyber crimes that you can fall victim to and we’re going to go over three of the most common ones – Malware, Distributed Denial of Service attacks and Phishing attempts.

Cyber Crimes Statistics

Cyber Crime Infographic

The infographic above illustrates the most common cyber crimes nowadays

Cyber Crimes Often Lead to Loss of Data - Malware

One of the more dangerous types of malware that has been gaining popularity recently is ransomware. Ransomware and crypto-viruses are mostly targeted at companies that handle large amounts of data and work with sensitive information. These attacks often result in losing access to certain or in some cases all of your files, websites, digital storages and so on. Cyber crimes of this type are usually committed by groups or individuals that are mostly after money, as shortly after, the perpetrator(s) tend to send threatening messages, demanding a certain ransom that you’d have to pay in order to regain access to your files.

How can you fall victim to this type of cyber crimes?

All it takes is downloading a piece of software from an untrusted source and running it. This type of cyber crimes work extremely quickly and can set their hooks into your system in the manner of seconds. After that point, everything can only go downhill and you should seek the aid of specialists ASAP.

How to prevent this?

Cyber crimes statistics show that this type of activity is quickly gaining popularity and as such, it’s crucial to make sure that you’re protected against it. Never, ever download anything from an untrusted source. Better yet, make sure that everyone in your company is well aware of this threat and prohibit visits to untrusted websites from inside your company. There’s a few steps that you should take to protect your company from this type of cyber crime. First of all, keep your OS (Windows) or your MAC up to date – software often comes with vulnerable sides and all these updates that Microsoft keeps releasing serve to plug the holes. Then, make sure that you are using a good mail filtering system as it will greatly reduce the amount of unwanted messages that can reach your company. Finally, employee awareness is key.

Cyber Crimes Resulting in Denial of Service - DDoS Attacks

Another very prominent type of cyber attacks that is also getting more and more popular is the DDoS attack. These types of cyber crimes are usually done with proving a point or gaining publicity in a certain manner in mind. They tend to overload servers and internet connections, denying given servers the ability to operate as intended. While there are preventive measures that can be taken against this, there is only so much that can be done beyond careful filtering and having things to fall back upon.

How can you fall victim to this type of cyber crimes?

Falling victim to DDoS attacks is rarely the fault of employees or businesses directly, as they aren’t related to downloading or clicking in specific places, it’s mostly up to the perpetrators desire to mess with the given servers as a means of achieving a personal goal.

How to prevent this?

Cyber crimes statistics can show that the complete and total prevention of DDoS attacks isn’t in the realm of possibility, due to the sheer amount of data that a group of individuals can direct at a server, given enough time, effort and desire. However, there are tools to mitigate the damage and with the help of specialized software and companies, your business can be protected against the weaker attacks.

Cyber Crimes Evolve but Never Completely Change – E-mail Spam & Phishing

Finally, email spam is almost as popular as it's been in the past and email phishing keeps on going, without giving any indication about running out of steam anytime soon. Very often, people receive email from unverified and suspicious sources, containing messages and information, compelling them to visit a certain site and enter their personal data in some type of form. Falling victim to these types of cyber crimes can lead to having certain sensitive information floating around in the internet, often connected to significant financial losses.

How can you fall victim to this type of cyber crimes?

Following links to strange looking sites, filling in personal information without making sure that the web page asking for it is authentic and lack of overall use awareness are the most common problems that can put one in a situation where they can become victims of phishing.

How to prevent this?

According to cyber crimes statistics preventing the success of phishing attempts is simpler than combating most other types of cyber crimes as your strongest weapon here is employee awareness and knowledge. One should always carefully look and think before they click on a link, checking where they will be led to and what the page in question asks for once they arrive. Spam filters are also evolving to help better with filtering incoming messages, preventing a decent portion of the malicious one from reaching you.

 

These are just a few of the most common types of cyber crimes nowadays and it can be quite difficult to keep track of everything, staying up to date. However, that’s exactly what a cyber criminal wants – you getting tired of the whole process, giving him the opportunity to get into your system and cause harm. Of course, nobody is expected to deal with the war against cyber crimes their own – that’s why there are so many companies specializing in cyber protection. However, this can potentially end up being a double edged sword as it can also be used as the perfect cover for someone who wishes to infiltrate your defenses. And it’s much easier to commit cyber crimes when you have direct access to a computer from the inside of a company’s network. Do your research before you hire a company to take care of your cyber defense to avoid headaches afterwards.

 

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