Cybercrime: Protect And Survive

Issue 31

With cybercrime estimated to have cost UK businesses more than £30bn in 2017 and an ever-constant threat over the next 12 months, Dave Sample, technical director at Advantex, provides advice to help businesses stay safe and secure.

Cyberspace is an attractive hunting ground for criminals and terrorists motivated by greed, a desire to interfere with people’s lives, or even bring down corporations and governments through online attacks. Hacking and malware incidents were seen as the most prevalent cause of data breaches in the third quarter of 2017, according to data from cyber-insurer Beazley – and occurrences are on the rise, with a large portion of these involving small businesses.

By 2020, it’s estimated that more than 300 billion username and password combinations will be at risk of being hacked, stolen and sold on the dark web.

The reality is that every organisation connected to the internet can expect to fall victim to cybercrime at some point as criminals expand their capabilities and intent. So, companies need to be vigilant and prepare for the unpredictable so that they have the resilience to withstand unforeseen, high impact, and potentially commercially catastrophic, events.

The key is to be proactive, and by managing risk through some simple precautions, business managers and owners can lessen the likelihood of becoming a victim of cybercrime


The key is to be proactive, and by managing risk through some simple precautions, business managers and owners can lessen the likelihood of becoming a victim of cybercrime – even if a business simply protected its data assets and ensured software systems were up to date, that would be a step forward. Other practical steps that

you can take to protect your business, customers and reputation include:

Network perimeter protection

A good first step is to protect your network perimeter and to identify known nefarious activity. There are tools, some of them free, which can block requests to malicious and unwanted destinations before a connection is even established.

Back-up data

You can avoid the crippling impact of ransomware among other e-virus attacks, which can be devastating and effective because they block access to essential business data, by regularly and securely backing up your data.

Educate the team

Employees are often the weakest link in the cyber security chain but you can invest in making cyber education a regular aspect of staff training: teach people to stop clicking on links and educate them on how to identify phishing activity to prevent criminals from obtaining usernames, passwords, and credit card details among other sensitive data.

Have a plan

A clear plan of action, which should be internally tested on a regular basis to demonstrate robustness or identify potential weaknesses, is an absolute necessity. Knowing where vulnerabilities lie and protecting sensitive data is critical, and having a plan will help you react appropriately in a stressful situation when time can be of the essence and resources limited.

Ensure you are insured

Cyber insurance is a must have given the digital nature of today’s business environment and the interconnectivity of systems and processes. The risks of a cyber-attack denying access to your systems or online platform, or the loss of sensitive data, can all be insured against. Some insurance companies not only offer comprehensive coverage for the ever-changing risk but also provide comprehensive services before, during and after an incident.

When it comes to being a victim of a cybercrime, in today’s business world it’s not a question of if but when. However, by taking precautions, the impact can be softened and the lasting damage to your company’s reputation and even its ability to stay in business, effectively managed. Perimeter, back up, education, planning and insurance: can you afford to ignore these five key words?

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