Why is it necessary to try and prevent Cyber Security attacks?
With a worldwide increase in the use of computers within the workplace, a vast amount of information is now being stored on computer servers and databases. As a result of this; the risk of cyber breaches have also risen. The sensitivity of data stored online is of great interest to online criminals. This is why hackers are constantly looking for new ways to steal information. This is the main reason for the need to prevent cyber security attacks.
What exactly is CyberCrime?
Cybercrime is one of the fastest growing areas of criminal activity and can be defined as any crime where:
- A computer is the target of the crime
- A computer is used to commit a crime
Identifying a Cyber Security attack
In order to try to identify and prevent cyber security attacks, it is important to understand the various types of potential cybercrimes which your business could be subject to. These can come in the form of computer intrusions or limiting intrusions.
According to the Crown Prosecution Services, it is against the law to gain unauthorised access to a computer system. There are several different offenses that can be characterised as unauthorised access or ‘computer intrusion’:
- Obtaining national security information
- Compromising confidentiality
- Trespassing in a government computer
- Accessing information to defraud and obtain value
- Damaging a computer or information
- Trafficking in passwords
- Threatening to damage a computer
What is a computer intrusion?
Computer intrusions can be difficult to negotiate when trying to prevent cyber security attacks from affecting your business. They tend to come from an internal source such as a disgruntled employee with insider knowledge of the computer systems. This often makes it difficult to identify where the attack has come from. However, intrusions are not just limited to internal sources and can often come from outside the company. This could be as simple as a hacker looking to steal or destroy a company’s intangible assets.
How do Hackers actually get access to your data?
A small piece of software that attaches itself to a program currently on your computer. Once it is able to do so, it can then tag onto other programs on your system and therefore manipulate data. If it reaches this stage, it can be extremely difficult to prevent a cyber security attack. This is because viruses can quickly spread from one computer to another and wreak havoc from then on.
A computer program that can copy itself from one machine to another- using the machine’s own processing time and network bandwidth to completely slow down a system. Once the first machine is infected this form of cyber attack can be extremely difficult to prevent. Worms tend to exploit a security hole in operating systems and tend to spread quickly from their first intrusion.
Identifying and preventing a cyber security attack which comes in the form of a Trojan tends to be a more difficult task than most other forms of hacking. This is because Trojans hide in otherwise harmless programs on a computer and release themselves, unannounced, when least expected. Consequently, Identifying a Trojan is difficult as they are often introduced into the system by a user and can be unknowingly run through a ‘.exe’ file- thus letting the Trojan in.
The clue is in the name! Spyware can be installed on a computer without the user ever knowing. This tends to come from downloading a file from an untrusted source. Hackers often use spyware to track browsing habits or more importantly-collect personal information such as credit card numbers.
Pieces of code set to trigger upon the occurrence of a certain event. For example; a logic bomb could be set up to delete all the contents of a computer hard drive on a specific date. A well-known example occurred within a South Korean bank back in 2013. This highlights that logic bombs can cause serious damage to a company’s digital assets- no matter their size.
Denial of service(Dos) and Distributed Denial of services(DDOS) attacks:
These are two examples of cyber attacks which cannot necessarily be prevented in the first place. Dos and DDoS attacks are used by hackers to send an overwhelming amount of data to a target server- thus rendering the server completely useless. The result of this could be thousands or millions of pounds in lost sales for online retailers or a complete loss of productivity for many businesses.
Computer intrusions can be extremely dangerous to any valuable digital assets and can put your business at risk. Therefore it is important for your business to take measures to prevent cyber security attacks of this nature.
The following measures are recommended to protect your assets:
A piece of software which controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic on a computer system. Firewalls should certainly be taken as one of the ‘must needs’ when looking to try and identify and prevent cyber attacks on your business. The firewall decides which traffic should be allowed through the network and onto your device. Firewalls have become so popular that most operating systems now come with a pre-installed firewall(Windows Defender for Windows pcs). Whilst a firewall will not prevent every single intrusion- they provide a good place to start.
Routers are pieces of hardware that keep unwanted traffic out of a computer system. They differ from firewalls in that they are standalone devices that must be bought separately–they are not included in an operating system.
One of the most popular methods used to prevent cyber security attacks- antivirus programs are designed to catch and eliminate viruses before they can do any harm to a computer system. Antivirus programs run in the background to ensure your computer is protected at all times.
Every company, no matter its size should have policies in place to educate their employees about the dangers of computer intrusions and methods to prevent them. Moreover, It is important than in order to prevent cyber attacks that employees know not to open, click or download any attachments from unknown sources.
Everyone claims to have it, but if that were the case many viruses, worms & Trojans would cease to exist. Above all, the simple fact is that everyone within the company needs to exhibit some common sense in order to help prevent cyber security attacks. Employees should be encouraged to delete emails with dodgy subject lines or attachments that seem good to be true.
Review Your Risks and Cover with CyberBee
A computer intrusion could be catastrophic for the future of your company. Allowing for hackers to access your systems and wreck havoc could potentially mean thousands or millions of pounds in lost sales, damages to your reputation and possible legal sanctions.
Taking some simple steps could ensure that both you and your business are protected from Cyber Criminals.
Ensure you have the necessary tools to identify and prevent cyber attacks against your business.