How to combat the challenges of cybercrime

While every business makes the security of their physical business premises a priority, very few dedicate the same attention to their cybersecurity. In this day and age, this is a huge mistake.

shutterstock_287395955TalkTalk and Apple are among the high-profile businesses that have been victim to cybercrime, proving that even the world’s biggest and most sophisticated corporations are vulnerable to these attacks. With the Guardian recently reporting that several of London’s largest banks are stockpiling bitcoins in order to pay ransoms set by cybercriminals, it is clear how seriously the world’s biggest businesses are taking the threat of cybercrime — you’d be well advised to do the same.

While being hacked by cybercriminals might seem like the stuff of Hollywood movies, it is becoming an increasingly realistic threat for businesses of all sizes.

Rory Clarke is a director at J R Rix and Sons Ltd, a company that has first-hand experience with the dangers of cybercrime, having recently avoided an attack earlier this year. He said: “In January, a fraudster passing themselves off as one of our company directors contacted our phone provider and attempted to have our calls diverted to another number. Thankfully, the security measures we have in place prevented them from being successful — if they hadn’t, we would have lost close to a million pounds.

“The second part of their plan involved requesting a £750,000 payment from our bank, having forged two of our director’s signatures. The bank immediately flagged this behaviour as suspicious and called us to authorise the transaction. Had their attempt to redirect our calls been successful, so would their theft.”

So, how can you learn from this example and make sure your business is properly protected from the dangers of cybercrime? Here are some tips to point you in the right direction.

Firstly, business owners need to start making cybersecurity a priority. You wouldn’t leave your business premises unlocked and unattended overnight, but businesses often do the digital equivalent without even realising it. The very first thing you should do to protect yourself is to invest in a business antivirus package — take a look at Tech Radar’s list of the 8 best antiviruses for businesses to find the package that suits your needs best.

While investing in a quality antivirus software will stop your business from being an easy target, it should only be considered the start of your efforts to deter cybercrime. The next step is to educate and train your staff on the correct digital security protocols. This will require setting up a well-defined company-wide policy, as well as making sure all your staff are clued up on the most common cybersecurity threats, such as phishing, trojans, and malware. Educating your staff will go a long way to protecting your company from the latest threats.

The next step is to stay on top of all the latest developments in cybercrime. Opportunist criminals are always thinking up new, ingenious ways to commit fraud against companies of all sizes, and it’s important that at least one person within your company is tasked with keeping abreast of the developments in cybercrime so they can update your security policy whenever needed. There may be a local group of likeminded companies you can join and share tips with. Alternatively, there is a wealth of online resources that will help keep your company updated on the latest developments in cybercrime — take a look at the government’s Cyber Aware campaign, as well as organisations like Financial Fraud Action UK and Action Fraud.

Hopefully this article has not only demonstrated the dangers of cybercrime, but also shown how you can put the framework in place to protect your business as best as possible. It’s never been more important to do this, and it’s only going to become more crucial in years to come as cybercrime becomes an ever more serious threat.

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