Top tips to prevent your business being impersonated by a cyber criminal

Identification Card Printer specialists Digital ID give us their top tips on how to prevent your business being impersonated by a cyber criminal.

cyber criminalThe majority of UK businesses embrace the Internet in some way to help them grow. A high percentage of B2C businesses use this to find new customers and interact via social media, whereas B2B businesses may use this to streamline their day to day tasks via tools and new platforms. While this is a great way for businesses to grow and some may experience growth quicker than others due to this, it leaves each and every one them open to the risk of on-going cyber attacks.

Although Virus/Malware attacks are still the most common cyber attack business fall victim to, an alarming figure from the 2016 UK Government Cyber Security Breach Survey shows 32% of UK business surveyed had suffered an attack due to a cyber criminal impersonating their SME business or organisation also known as Business ID theft.

What is an impersonation of a business or business ID theft?

Business identity theft or impersonation occurs ‘when a false Corporate identity or another company’s identity details are used to support unlawful activity. By stealing the identity of a business, the main goal of the criminal is to defraud creditors and suppliers, financial organisations, business owners and even target unsuspecting criminals. In recent cases within the UK so called cyber criminals have ordered goods to the value of £500,000 from unsuspecting suppliers.

Why are cyber criminals targeting businesses and their ID?

Cyber criminals target business and steal their Identification due to:

  • Higher financial gains
  • The business lacks knowledge on cyber security
  • The business lacks knowledge on physical & printing security
  • Unwillingness to invest fully into both physical and online security
  • The time taken to detect a security breach
  • Lack of knowledge when dealing with a recovery
  • Larger bank accounts balances
  • Easy credit account opening options
  • Flexible invoicing and payment terms
  • Higher credit limit
  • Availability to purchase higher value items with less scrutiny
  • Additional orders of a higher value going unnoticed for a longer period

How business identification can be stolen

Business ID can be stolen in many ways but criminals ideally are looking to get their hands on:

  • Company account details
  • A bank statement
  • A credit card statement
  • Access to both your business and employee social media accounts
  • Security codes on the back of your credit or debit cards
  • Company and employee personal details
  • Identification documents
  • Staff ID cards
  • Visitor passes and records
  • Access control fobs
  • Online banking information
  • List of suppliers and trade accounts

Steps to take to prevent a business being at risk

  • Have a procedure in place for the shredding of sensitive documents
  • Have important documents such as passports, driving licences and employee details locked in a secure place
  • Install a secure mailbox meaning your post can’t be intercepted
  • Cancel all unused accounts that could be easily accessed
  • Monitor and reconcile your business accounts daily
  • Be aware of phasing scams and have a procedure company-wide to deal with them
  • Make sure all staff enrol in email alerts
  • Speak directly to trade and credit references to notify you if they are contacted
  • Install and use regularly updated anti-virus/ anti-spyware/Internet security software
  • Provide on-going staff training on cyber, physical and overall business security

The overall consent is that security shouldn’t be seen as an expense to your business and with careful planning and a little bit of common sense, cyber attacks and business ID theft can be a thing of the past.

Remember that cyber criminal doesn’t just operate online and if these criminals can’t gain access to your building or documents they can’t put a stop to your business growing. Many Businesses spend hours, days, weeks and years getting their business off the ground and by following these simple steps you are on the way to a secure business in 2016.