Cybercrime has been a fact of life since the 1970s when techies first discovered ways of accessing free long distance telephone calls by modifying the software of the Bell Telephone Company. Since then, cybercrime is a phenomenon that’s been on the rise. Factors such as increased use of the internet, remote working and automation have all contributed to a growth in cybercrime. Here we look at why cybercrime is increasing day by day, the common types of cybercrime, and how to protect your business against the latest threats.
As technology has progressed, and our reliance upon it has escalated, so in turn cybercrime has intensified. This is especially apparent during the pandemic, with a 31 per cent increase in cases during the peak of the crisis in 2020, and police data revealing that almost 3,500 UK businesses fell victim to cyber scams between September 2019 and September 2020, 1,740 of those occurring during lockdown.
There are various reasons why businesses have become more vulnerable to cybercrime during COVID-19, most of them being connected to the rise in remote working. With control environments relaxed, and processes and procedures perhaps not so strict, criminals have taken the opportunity to target the gaps left in cyber security.
Even without the pandemic, the past five years have seen multiple data security breaches of significant proportions reported in the media. For this reason, it is vital that businesses of all sizes and across all sectors prepare to spot and respond to cyber threats.
What are the most common methods of cybercrime?
Cyber criminals are constantly on the trail of finding new methods of exploiting vulnerabilities, which is why it is vital to approach cyber security with an open attitude to keeping up to date and on top of all the latest threats.
Some of the most common cyber threats include:
Phishing – cyber criminals send emails or text messages purporting to be from a trusted source, requesting that the recipient clicks a link and enters personal data which is then used to gain access to financial resources or commit identity fraud.
Social engineering – unscrupulous individuals manipulate people to gain access to confidential and sensitive information.
Spam – emails or texts sent in bulk enticing the recipient to click on a link or open an attachment which then installs malware onto their device.
Malware and ransomware – malicious software designed to disrupt networks, in some cases blocking access to data and systems until a ransom is paid.
Whaling – the targeting of those in senior positions, either for financial gain or access to sensitive information.
Island hopping – the use of a supply chain and third parties to target larger or more intricate organisations.
How prevalent is cybercrime?
So says cyber security organisation Mimecast, phishing or email scams are the most widespread type of attack, with human error and lack of awareness often responsible for security breaches. Cyber security should therefore be looked upon as a company-wide responsibility, with every member of the organisation subscribed to doing whatever they can to combat it. In other words, not just leaving it for the IT department to deal with.
Technology market research company Vanson Bourne conducted a survey in conjunction with Mimecast, which revealed that:
- 30 per cent experienced an increase in identity/impersonation fraud during the first 100 days of the COVID-19 pandemic
- 31 per cent experienced data loss due to lack of resilience and awareness
- 52 per cent experienced an enforced halt to operations as a result of an attack
- 58 per cent experienced an increase in phishing attempts
- 60 per cent experienced an increase in identity/impersonation fraud
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has issued a host of high profile significant fines since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. Furthermore, in March 2020, the UK government reported that 50 per cent of businesses had suffered a cyber breach or attack over the past year.
It is clear that cybercrime is a massive threat to business. The attack itself is one thing, but the financial, material and reputational damage can be nothing short of devastating.
How to combat the threat of cyber-attacks?
There are various good cyber security habits that can protect against cyber threats. A robust cyber strategy is crucial. Education and support for staff should form a core aspect of any cyber risk management strategy, with awareness campaigns essential company-wide, making everyone aware of why cyber security is important, and how to report a cyber attack.
Expert cyber security support from PC Docs
Here at PC Docs we offer a comprehensive package of cyber security solutions, all of which can be personalised to suit your individual business needs and cyber risk assessment.
From anti-malware and adware systems, to firewall and antivirus setup and management, internet and spam filters and email scanning software, our services cover the entire spectrum of cyber threats. We also offer tailored guidance on good cyber security practice.
To learn how we can help safeguard your organisation against all the latest cyber threats, you are welcome to get in touch.