During the last ten years, our lives have changed. The increased usage of the Internet made blurred some lines between the virtual and the real world making some processes faster.
Ordinary people are enjoying this change, as life is becoming much easier for them.
Large companies and enterprises experience some negative sides of such changes, though. They are preparing for a huge increase in cyber crime.
General Crime Numbers
Ginni Rometty, the Chairman of IBM Corp, mentioned in his recent interview that cyber crime wave, as they named it a couple of years ago, has already turned into an epidemic.
It cost U.S. companies $100 billion in 2013, while some reports were already mentioning ten times higher numbers. This amount quadrupled over three years. In 2015, Lloyd’s, the British insurance company, estimated that cyber attacks cost companies and businesses about $400 billion a year, which is a moderate amount.
What goes into this huge number? Both direct damage to business and money spent for dealing with attack afterward. So, this digitalization we mentioned above can potentially cost the enterprises a dime or two.
The Juniper Networks cooperates with the larger world companies. This cooperation contibutes to the cyber security researches the company runs. General tendencies together with the researches give us a chance to peek into the future of cyber crime. And we can see another quadrupling in cyber crime cost for the next three years. In total, it is about $2.1 trillion by the year 2019.
What Is a Cyber Crime?
The definition of cyber crime is pretty vast. Here you have several components it includes. In a nutshell, cyber crime is the crime with a computer (or cyber) aspect to it. Identity theft cases and telemarket frauds conducted via Internet are cyber crimes as well. Going into detail, you see that cyber crimes are not that simple. There are smaller and bigger cases of cyber crime. Yes, identity theft feels like a lot for a victim, but it's actually a smaller issue. A stock market manipulation and corporate espionage are larger things.
Cases of these cause billions of dollars' losses for the larger enterprises. Type 2 cyber crime usually involves repeated interactions with the target. Most of the time criminals try to stay unnoticed as long as possible. This way they can go on stealing and causing damage for a lot of time. The experts are now talking about organized cyber crime.
These guys are hunting down sensitive data of the larger companies. Later on they sell the information to the frauds or rival companies and get their profit. How can companies protect themselves from espionage, robbery and information theft? There are several essential steps to follow.
Essential Ways for Protecting Your Business From Cyber Criminals
Despite the size and the field of your company, there is always a high risk of falling a victim to cyber crime. But put worries aside. There are several steps for building up cyber security. Following these, you lower the chances of being robbed. But before you start implementing these innovations, remember the following statement.
Your cyber crime protection should be a system, and it should be set well and work like a clock. What type of information do cyber criminals want? The essential details for them are:
- Email addresses
- Social Security numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Bank information
- Product information
- Birth dates.
Also, the hackers are always looking for weaknesses in the company. These are outdated browsers and operating systems. And even your employees that can fall for scams are the weak points to take care of. Thus, before cyber-proofing your business, hire a technician. He would take care of operating systems and hardware alltogether. After that be sure to follow these tips.
- Encrypt your data. No worries, it will not interrupt the workflow. But it will keep intruders away from your data. To be sure every bit is safe, encrypt all the drives, folders and wireless network. This way, even if files will be stolen, they would be useless for a thief.
- Update regularly. This applies to several things in the company. First, it is the operation system (OS). Outdated OS are weak and easy to break in. And so are older versions of the Internet browsers. Be sure to update them whenever new versions are released. A strong firewall is one more security tool for your business. Try to use the powerful one and update it on a regular basis. It will effectively oppose viruses and phishing attacks on your company's hardware.
- Restrict software installing. Set several levels of rights and access to software part of the system. This will help providing employees with exact access they need. This way you will ensure people will not install any malicious programs to any computer in the system.
- Implement security policies. These include password policies and data access controls.
- Filter the data and the Internet surfing options. The storage clouds are popular and convenient for employees. But if they are working with the sensitive and confidential data, using storages is a no-no for them. By limiting the Internet surfing option, you will keep all your informaton inside the company.
- Protect bank accounts and credit cards. Be sure the personal accounts and the business accounts are separated. In case your company is dealing with the paper bills, switch to online payments. In case it is impossible, use a secure mailbox. And regularly check online banking for any suspicious activity.
- Educate the employees. Limiting the access and the website usage might seem like a draconian method? It's worth trying though. Many employers around the world monitor their employees's online activity and limit access to certain sites. Some use monitoring tools such as Staffcop or Pumpic. Yet, educating the employees about security can be an extra defence against fraud. Hold regular trainings for your employees. Teach them about the security threats, the software and hardware use. It would be a good preventive measure for future cyber attacks.
The Bottom Line
Here you have it, several simple advice for cyber security. For sure, they are not the ultimate guide to follow. If you are running a larger company on the market, 100 percent avoidance of attacks is impossible. You should prepare for the fact of future losses that would go to predicted $2,1 trillion bills.
However, these tips would help minimizing the losses your company might incur. Plus, we are giving you the last tip for today. There are so-called white-hat hackers on the market. Their main task is helping companies and enterprises with security system. They use the same methods cyber criminals do, but for your own good. They search for the weaknesses in your company system and try to break through.
If they succeed, you will know what you should repair. Run this check every once in awhile and you will be fraud-proof against cyber criminals.