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Cybercrime: Useful tips to protect your company

Cybercrime and cybersecurity are two topics often underestimated by both companies and individuals.

A recent study by Accenture estimates that the cost of  Cybercrime to companies over the next 5 years could be in excess of 5.2  trillion.

According to the study, the technological developments in the field of security are the main cause; the modern internet-based business models develop faster than the technology required for their cyber-security.

The most affected sector by cybercrime threats is high-tech with over $ 753 billion of possible emerging costs over the next 5 years. This is followed by life sciences with $642 billion and automotive with $505 billion.

Source: screenshot from Accenture Research – https://www.accenture.com/us-en/careers -for-Trust.pdf

In the study, more than 1700 CEOs and top managers were interviewed around the world to find their Internet-related challenges and to outline imperatives for the CEO´s evolving role in technology, business architecture, and governance.

79% of respondents believe that the development of the digital economy will be compromised unless there is rapid progress in internet security.

75% say that IT security challenges will need a joint response since no organization will be able to solve the challenge on its own.

59% of respondents say that internet security is unstable and does not have a clear picture of possible actions to be taken to cope with threats.

How to protect your firm against cyber attacks?

As we see by these findings, most of the CEO´s are not only afraid of cybercrime and cyber attacks, but they see them as a severe threat to successfully doing business in the digital age.

Today, hackers and cybercriminals have a deep knowledge of every type of network, operating systems and software leaks that can be used as zero-day-exploits but also are capable of adjusting to new situations. Cyber attacks are therefore on the rise each year and getting much more elaborate.

What are the three best ways to protect from cyber attacks?

  1. Consult a professional hacker. One of the best ways to protect your company from cybercrime is to consult a professional (former) hacker. They will be able to stress test your system for weaknesses and loopholes. These ethical hackers perform penetration tests which disclose the main problems in a very short time. The IT administrator can then close the gaps that have been found, preventing (hopefully) any attacks.
  2. Keep your systems up to date. This might seem rather obvious, but as we have seen in the last few years, hackers like to use gaps that exist in operating systems that are already known to the public. For example, in a lot of web browsers there are many technical loopholes that have to be closed with an update, but in reality, many smaller companies don’t update their systems in time. Additionally, you should also have the latest antivirus solution and a firewall running to protect your system.
  3. Keep your employees up to date. When it comes to cybercrime the main weakness is the person behind the computer screen. Even though there might be cases where hackers have developed an extraordinary malware code that can transfer itself from one device or data folder to another, it is not easy to get into an enterprise network and server system anymore. Employees must be permanently trained in the handling of data. There must be a clear guideline of what data employees can access and what not, and there must be strict guidelines regarding emails.

If an email is received and includes any of the below, then it is highly likely to be a suspicious email.

  • From an unknown sender
  • Has lots of mistakes
  • Is written in another language
  • Includes senseless information in the subject line
  • Includes applications and programs
  • Includes a reminder for payment of an unknown invoice
  • An email which only includes the attachment but no message
  • Urgent request for money transfer

Finally, employees should also be suspicious when they find that money has been debited from the company or private account. Therefore, it is wise to frequently check bank accounts for suspicious activity.

Picture copyright: Accenture Research

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