According to a recent study sponsored by Hewett-Packard (HP) and conducted by Ponemon Institute (PI), cyber crimes has cost businesses in several countries millions of dollars’ worth in damages. The report goes on to say that this will continue to be a rising trend for organisations across different industries, impacting primarily the smaller businesses.
So how can we avoid any nasty surprises and protect our businesses from unscrupulous hackers? Below are Top 3 steps to take to ensure your business operations remain secure and uncompromised.
1) Know what you are dealing with
Statistics has shown that hackers love to target smaller businesses, and it’s not without any basis. Not only are they able to gain access to the necessary information they need through theft of your database – chances are, smaller businesses also do not have the necessary security normally found in larger organisations. As such, these criminals do not have to face up against the more sophisticated and updated online security, making smaller businesses vulnerable to attacks.
Below is a list of just some of the many ways cybercriminals try to extract your data.
- Insider attack
With this sort of attack, you don’t even need any sophisticated programs to get hacked. Disgruntled employees, specifically those with administrative rights to the company’s database, may intentionally jeopardise sensitive information within your company by stealing it for their own personal use or selling the information to competitors.
Malware involves the use of malicious software that is downloaded and installed into a computer. This introduces a program that mines the information from your computer through various methods such as viruses, spyware and Trojans. Find out more about Malware at How to Geek.
This serves as the most popular type of hacking. Phishing normally is activated through emails and bogus links to what may appear to be legitimate websites. It may look like a link to Paypal, for instance, but is actually a malicious website designed to steal your bank and credit card details.
2) If compromised, do not panic
If, in some unfortunate circumstances, you find that your business has been breached, do not panic. Instead, focus and work quickly to identify the source and type of the breach as soon as possible before taking decisive steps to contain and eliminate the problem.
Whether these corrective measures involve reformatting hacked computers or attempting to regain access to your hacked accounts and passwords, such methods, while disruptive and costly, are absolutely necessary to contain the spread of the breach.
In fact, detection, according to the research, is the costliest “internal activity followed by recovery”. Giving in to panic is bound to aggravate the situation, resulting in a loss of productivity and potential misallocation of resources that could have been utilised in a more effective manner.
If all else fails, turn to legal advice as well as report the incident to the relevant authorities. Having customer information being released to the public may result in some hefty lawsuits, leading to financial disaster. Your lawyer may advise you to be forthcoming to your customers. Honestly will be the best way to go to minimise financial loss as well as damage done to reputation.
3) Prevention is better than cure
While the statement may seem to be a cliché, prevention is a lot better than cure. And cheaper too, judging from the millions one may stand to lose from just one breach – and we haven’t even looked cost implications that may arise from a potential lawsuit you may be slapped with in addition to all that.
Always that your security defences are up and running by getting the most updated product. Online security is affordable and has proven many times to serve as a reliable protection against hacking. Given the magnitude of damage, such incident can inflict, it’s really not something to be taken lightly.
Even better, ensure that everyone in your employment is educated on the dangers of such attacks from hackers. This will cultivate a working environment that is both informed as well as alert against incoming anomalies, helping everyone respond to any future potential attacks calmly and efficiently.
So. Have you gotten your business any protection against cyber attacks today?
About Sheha Sidek
Sheha is a writer with interests in cyber security and finance. At Cyber Secure Asia, she hopes to be the bridge between the “bits and bytes” language and the everyday readers.