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It’s something to take seriously

The term cybercrime used to be the stuff of science fiction. Today, it’s a harsh reality. It’s been estimated that the global cost of cybercrime will reach $6 trillion by 2021, double what it was in 2015.

Cybercrime is simply the use of computers to commit an illegal act. Common ways individual computers and networks are affected by cybercrime include phishing, DDoS attacks, identity theft, ransomware and online scams.

A crime is a crime

While it’s easy to think that you and your colleagues are “too smart” to be taken in by some of these techniques, keep in mind that even the most seemingly reliable systems have been hacked. Think of Marriott hotels, Yahoo and Equifax; all huge companies that had massive data breaches in recent years.

Cybercrime basics

Let’s talk about some of the key threats to you and your network:

  • Phishing – This is a fraudulent way to gain access to sensitive information. Users are often contacted via email or text by a seemingly trustworthy sender. Opening an attachment or link exposes their computer to the theft of data.
  • DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack – Hackers will flood a site with traffic from multiple sources, causing it to become unavailable. At the same time, malware is installed, enabling a hacker to access the system.
  • Ransomware – This is a specific sub-set of crime software that is installed on a victim’s system (often through phishing or other fraudulent means). Once it’s there, the user’s data is usually encrypted and then “ransomed” back for payment.
  • Online scams/internet fraud – These can be positioned in a variety of ways, however, what they all have in common is an enticing, almost “too good to be true” lure that compels people to give money or information.

The consequences can be colossal so keep your system safe

According to Cybersecurity Ventures’ 2019 Official Cybercrime Annual Report, “Cybercrime costs include damage and destruction of data, stolen money, lost productivity, theft of intellectual property, theft of personal and financial data, embezzlement, fraud, post-attack disruption to the normal course of business, forensic investigation, restoration and deletion of hacked data and systems, and reputational harm.” You really can’t underestimate how damaging a seemingly innocuous email could be to you and your business.

You can take decisive steps to minimize your risk if you haven’t already. These include protective firewalls, anti-virus software, smart password use, and most importantly, education. Ensuring you and your staff are well informed about how to deal with anything you deem suspicious is key to keeping your systems safe.

If you’d like to learn more about Cyber Security, check out this article, WARNING: Here’s What Every Business Owner Needs To Know About Phishing