Think you can keep the bag guys away?
The digital world is the new frontier, so it is no surprise that enterprising criminals have made their way in. Cybercrime targets all businesses and employees, and the loss created due to it continues to skyrocket.
Alongside the financial loss, businesses who deal with cyber attacks also face a number of other issues – the loss of valuable and private data, customer distrust, lost repute, and even the possibility of lawsuits.
Sure, the challenge of cyber security lies in the hands of your business’ IT department – but that does not mean that you cannot practice basic safety at your end. Doing so can help keep your job and business safe.
And the first time to preventing cybercrime is to understand its basics. Here are the top cybercrimes that you should be aware about –
1. Social Engineering
One of the most effective methods of cybercrime doesn’t involve computers at all! Social engineering is the process whereby a person gets close to their target, and then elicits information that can be used to log into protected systems, such as business computers.
Far too many people prefer passwords and pins that are memorable instead of safe, and use data from their own lives – pet names, birthdays, favorite shows etc. – to craft these passwords. Thus, somebody swiping off all the client data from your laptop can be as simple as you slipping out details of your friend’s birthday.
The possibility of social engineering doesn’t mean that you stop talking to people. Instead, rely more on strong, randomly generated passwords that do not associate to your own life to keep your work data safe.
The whole idea is to reel you in – phishing refers to the practice of sending emails (and increasingly, social media messages) from trusted accounts to lure people into opening malicious links or giving away personal data. The highlight of phishing is the fact that most of these emails come from official looking entities.
Common examples include banks, but office workers are known to be duped by people impersonating emails and accounts of clients or bosses.
Simple practices can help eliminate these issues. If an email comes from the workplace with an odd request, recheck the email address, or better yet, confirm on call or in person. If a link comes with the email, do not open it, if you find it suspicious.
Ransomware refers to a type of attack where a program is used to encrypt (“lock”) the computer and its data. The criminals may then demand a payment, failing which they would delete or expose the data. Ransomwares usually enter computers through internet, including by the clicking or downloading or links/programs.
Ransomware can be a devastating cybercrime for a business to go through.
The best way to ensure cyber security against ransomware is to prevent the ransomware from attacking in the first place. Good cyber security practices such as anti-virus checks and training are the way to do so.
Unlike your standard malicious viruses that wear bad guy boots, Trojans are sneakier. They often masquerade as normal and required applications. Once downloaded, they may wreck havoc on your system by swiping data or disrupting the day to day functioning.
As you can guess, this is the primary reason why people are warned off against downloading random files off the internet.
The best way to protect your workplace against this type of cybercrime is to restrict access to the kind of sites workers are allowed to visit. Alongside, all required software and files should ideally be downloaded and provided by the IT department, so that nothing malicious is downloaded off the internet.
5. Denial of Service
Known also as DoS, denial of service is a type of attack where a digital resource, such as a web server, is overloaded with more requests than it can handle. This means that legitimate users would not be able to make use of the services. A crashed website can be very problematic for businesses.
Business rivals and hackers looking to test their skills or prove a point to their peers are common perpetrators of this cybercrime.
Dealing with DoS attacks is usually in the realm of the IT department, but workers can contribute by quickly reporting any problems in a server to the team, and making sure that DoS preventive solutions are active and running on their systems.
7. Identity Theft
Identity theft refers to impersonating somebody else on the internet. This may be done for a number of reasons, ranging from financial transactions to causing humiliation to the victim.
Identity theft can be personally very hard for an employee to deal with, and if the criminal uses their identity or credentials to carry out business deals, it can impact the company as well.
Preventing identity theft involves keeping social media accounts private, and using cyber security practices such as digital signatures to ensure authenticity. Another good way to ensure accountability is to check with a person who has executed that decision, before making a business decision.
8. Internal Malice
A lot of cybercrime isn’t done by shady men in hoodies sitting in basements – it is done by that nice person from accounting. Insider cybercrime is one of the most devastating forms of attack that a company can face, as the person has the potential to get away with massive amounts of data and damage.
It has been very common to see people who are fired or bribed to undertake attacks against their own companies.
Methods to protect against this includes access control, or restriction of who can see what, and ensuring that people who leave the company dump all their data before going.
What cyber attacks do you feel have the most potential to harm businesses? Have you personally faced a cybercrime? What cyber security methods did you then adopt? Let us know in the comments!