By Bob Milliken
According to a recent study by Interpol, Cybercrime is one of the fastest growing areas of crime. More and more criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience and anonymity that modern technologies offer in order to commit a diverse range of criminal activities. These include attacks against computer data and systems, identity theft, internet auction fraud, the penetration of online financial services, the deployment of viruses and email scams
In the past, cybercrime has been committed by individuals or small groups of individuals. However, we are now seeing an emerging trend with traditional organized crime syndicates and criminally minded technology professionals working together and pooling their resources and expertise. It is estimated that the cost of global consumer cybercrime has risen form US $110 billion in 2012 to well over $300 billion in 2014. CyberCrime has become an industry, whose primary goal is (their) business profit.
A Seattle company was recently broken into and a stash of old laptops was stolen. Just a typical everyday crime by typical everyday thieves. The crime turned out to be anything but ordinary when those same thieves used data from the laptops to obtain information and siphon money out of the company via fraudulent payroll transactions. On top of stealing money, they also managed to steal employee identities.
Another small company was hacked by another “company” that shared the same high-rise office building with them. Management only became aware of the theft once they started seeing unusual financial transactions in their bank accounts. Even then, they didn’t know if there was internal embezzlement or external cybertheft. The thief in this case drove a Mercedes and wore a Rolex watch… and looked like anyone else walking in and out of their building.
One of the biggest issues facing small businesses in the fight against cybercrime is the lack of a cyber-security plan. Recent studies have shown showed that nearly two-thirds of the businesses affected are out of business within 6 months and over 80% of small business cybercrime victims were due to insufficient network security (wireless and password issues ranked highest).
The #1 money-generating technique these “bad guys” use is to infect your systems with malware so that whenever you (or your employees) visit a web site and enter a password (Facebook, bank, payroll, etc.) the malware programs harvest that data and save it for later use.
5 Steps To Protect Your Business
- Get Educated. Find out the risks and educate your staff.
- Do A Threat Assessment. Examine your firewall, anti-virus protection and anything connected to your network.
- Create A Cyber-Security Action Plan. Your plan should include both education and a “fire drill.”
- Monitor Consistently. Security is never a one-time activity. Monitoring 24/7 is critical.
- Re-Assess Regularly. New threats emerge all the time and are always changing. You can only win by staying ahead!
To learn more about protecting your business, connect with Bob at security@CascadiaSystemsGoup.com, or give us a call –604.770.130.
Your comments are appreciated – ComputerCents@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com