5 things every business needs to know about internet security
- Data breaches are caused by criminal attacks
It’s a persistent misconception about cyber-attacks that they are perpetrated by IT whiz-kids who break into servers using ingenious code and high-tech gadgets.
The reality is that the vast majority of damaging attacks are perpetrated using relatively simple fraud techniques that deliver malware to companies’ computers via infected email.
Email based cyber-crime is such a big industry now that wanna-be hackers can buy ready-made malware kits, with everything they need to mount a successful cyber-attack, for less than a hundred dollars.
- New cyber-attacks emerge every day
One of the ways that cybercriminals get past conventional security software is by constantly updating and mutating the malware they use. There are new attack vectors appearing hourly with the potential to harvest sensitive data like contact lists and financial credentials.
Conventional cybersecurity software is becoming ineffective because it depends on a centralised database which has to be curated and verified before being distributed to clients.
To work properly cybersecurity solutions need to be evolving and updating their threat profiles as quickly as the attackers.
- Data breach incidents can cost millions
The online economy is integral to the daily activities of every business. Losing access to web-portals or having private data exposed can spell disaster for a business.
The widespread web service outage reported by the Wall Street Journal in 2017 is a good example of the impact that interruptions to internet services can cause. According to the WSJ, the 2017 incident caused website performance to slow by about 20% and “cost companies in the S&P 500 index $150 million.”
New regulatory regimes, like the EU GDPR, now add hefty financial penalties to the burden placed on companies that suffer data breaches. The GDPR has put the responsibility for data protection squarely on companies, who may suffer penalties up to 20 million Euro or 4% of annual revenue, whichever is higher.
- It’s not just big companies being targeted
The data breaches that we see in the headlines are in big corporations like Facebook, Uber and Equifax, but smaller businesses are also being heavily impacted.
Cybercriminals see small companies as soft targets because they don’t have the big security budgets. The most common attack formats like phishing and malware can be delivered to a small business through their company inboxes and may not be detected until it’s too late.
Where larger companies may regard data breaches as an unfortunate cost of doing business, smaller enterprises can be devastated by them. It’s not just the immediate costs associated with losing access to computer systems, but also the reputational harm that follows from a data breach that can have a severe impact.
- New threats need new and better defences
“The Internet of Things has created a reliance on technology and exposed vulnerabilities where data has become a valuable commodity.” — Hugh Chambers, Cyber Security Advisor, Uncloak.
The time when desktop antivirus software and the occasional disk scan where all the cybersecurity a business needed is long over. An increasingly interconnected marketplace and innovations like IOT have made data systems a lucrative target for crime.
The latest report from IC3, the FBI’s internet crime division, revealed that email-based attacks were the most commonly reported cybercrime category in 2017.
IC3 received 300,000 complaints representing estimated losses of more than US$1.4 billion.
According to the IC3 report email-based attacks involving phishing and malware were the most costly.
With new malware variants being developed by criminals daily, effective cybersecurity needs to be implementing solutions globally as they are discovered. A lag time of even a few hours can be the difference between protection and millions of dollars in damage to data systems.
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Uncloak uses a Blockchain network to detect and mitigate new cyber-threats as they appear, with no lag time.
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