Individuals and businesses can suffer significant financial loss because of cyber crime with the most obvious impact being theft. Loss of business can also be significant in the instance of a denial of service attacks for large corporations. In addition, reputational damage can also be a significant factor following cyber crime. According to BBC Business News, Talk Talk lost almost a third of their share value following their data breach in 2015.
Businesses can be deliberately attacked because they have a high profile and possess valuable data, or there is some other publicity benefit in a successful attack.
Alternatively, the attack may be opportunistic, because cyber criminals have found vulnerabilities they can exploit. Almost every internet-facing entity will have exploitable vulnerabilities of some sort.
According to itgovernance.co.uk, cyber criminals are indiscriminate. Where there is a weakness, they will try to exploit it. Therefore, all businesses need to understand the cyber threats they may face, and take the appropriate steps to safeguard against them.
Protecting yourself from cyber crime
How can I protect myself?
Thanks to the sharing culture on social media, it has become as easy to be fall prey to a cyber crime as it is to press the 'like' button on Facebook. Phishing emails purportedly from friends, or even from your bank seduce you into clicking on infected links or attachments containing malware, which have the effect of compromising online banking transactions.
Exercise caution when it comes to free software such as screensavers or smileys or special offers. There are a variety of things like ‘secret investment tricks’ that promise to make you untold fortunes, and competitions that you've ‘won’ without entering are enticing hooks used by unscrupulous people to try to hook you in. While you may not directly pay for the software or service with money, the free software or service you asked for may have been bundled with advertising software ("adware") that tracks your behaviour and displays unwanted advertisements. You may have to divulge personal information or purchase something else in order to claim your ‘winnings’. Remember, if an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. If in doubt, ask for someone else's opinion, read the fine print, or simply ignore it.
Identity theft and fraud
The impact of identity theft and online fraud can be greatly reduced if you can catch it shortly after your data is stolen or when the first use of your information is attempted. One of the easiest ways to get the tip-off that something has gone wrong is by reviewing the monthly statements provided by your bank and credit card companies for anything out of the ordinary.
Many banks also have fraud prevention systems that highlight unusual purchasing behaviour (e.g. if you have attempted to make any purchases abroad). In order to confirm these out of the ordinary purchases are legitimate, your bank might call you to verify them. This can often be the first warning that someone has fraudulently used your account.
However you connect, make sure you protect
Are all websites secure?
The Internet is a tool we use every day to shop, to bank, to email. And, as with any tool, we need to use it with care. The Internet makes it easier for us to manage our everyday lives, but it also provides cybercriminals with easy access to our personal information – precious passwords, banking details, emails, photos and more.
Just like desktop PCs and laptops, all mobile devices that connect to the Internet need software protection to guard against malware and other attacks. With threats to mobile devices and even Macs mounting, having up-to-date protection is critical, no matter what device you use.
Watch the video below to discover how to protect yourself from malicious apps:
1. Defend your data
Install a comprehensive security suite for all your devices and regularly update security patches. Companies such as Norton have offers that provide protection for PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets in a single solution.
2. Think of mobile devices as mini-computers
Mobile is the fastest growing target for cybercriminals. Make sure your smartphones or tablets require a password and take precautions to ensure your devices are protected against theft, loss and cybercrime.
3. Be cautious in the cloud
You may have heard people talking about the Cloud. What is it? "The Cloud" is a network of servers that provides an online service to enable you to store, share and access information. You may be already using it if you Instagram or Dropbox. It is very easy to use but it also can open up other avenues for the cyber criminals.
Be careful about who has access to your files, and use a solution with built-in security, if possible.
4. Save sensitive transactions for secure connections
Take care with sharing personal information through the Internet, unless it is a secure connection. Free or unsecured Wi-Fi networks can make it easy for thieves to eavesdrop on your activity. Avoid doing any sensitive transactions like banking or shopping while connected to these networks.
When entering personal information into a website, make sure that the URL starts with “https://”. The “s” stands for “secure” and means that any information entered into the website is encrypted so that on one else can access it.
Passwords and personal information
Passwords are a fact of life in today’s online world. We use them for everything from sending emails and online banking to ordering the weekly groceries. Norton, a leading security company, have outlined the following tips can help make sure your online experiences are kept secure:
Selecting a password that cannot be easily guessed is the first step toward keeping passwords secure and away from the wrong hands. Strong passwords have eight characters or more and use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols (e.g., # $ % ! ?).
Avoid using any of the following as your password: your login name, anything based on your personal information such as your last name. Try to select especially strong, unique passwords for protecting activities like online banking.
Keep your passwords in a safe place and try not to use the same password for every service you use online.
Change passwords on a regular basis, ideally every 90 days. This can limit the damage caused by someone who has already gained access to your account. If you notice something suspicious with one of your online accounts, one of the first steps you can take is to change your password.
If you have difficulty keeping track of multiple passwords, consider using password management software, such as Norton Identity Safe.