The Ins & Outs of Cyber Awareness for your Business - Part 1.
How it all began
Did you know that the first computer virus ‘Elk Cloner’ was created as a practical joke? It was written in 1982 by a 15 year old student with the intention of displaying a short poem, when the computer re-booted every 50th time. In reality, this caused no real harm to the operating system but it soon paved the way for more sinister versions to follow in its footsteps.
Since then, millions of viruses, malware, trojans and spyware (to name a few) have appeared worldwide making the headlines. Even this week in the news; a denial of service attack on one of our biggest lenders; Lloyds Bank leaving a substantial number of customers unable to access their online accounts for several days. Fortunately on this occasion, no customer funds were targeted, unlike the attack on Tesco Bank in November 2015 which affected 9,000 customers resulting in the theft of £2.5m (1).
ITS NOT JUST THE BIGGIES!
It is a common misconception when watching the news that only large businesses are targeted. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth with thousands of smaller incidents happening on a daily basis across the UK. In a recent survey, nearly half of the global attacks logged were against companies with fewer than 250 staff with the average breach costing an estimated £3,480. This cost was much higher for large firms at £36,500 (2).
It is therefore important not to turn a blind eye when it comes to cyber security. Many people have heard about the viruses that historically fill your computer screen with pop ups and advertising or those which delete your files. In today’s world these threats are still out there, however, they have evolved to be more discreet, well targeted and generally with the purpose of making cash rather than chaos.
For example, a virus may install a ‘keystroke’ logger, a piece of software used to collect confidential information such bank password numbers, security numbers and credit card details. You may have no idea that your computer is infected, with the virus working silently in the background, and with the ability to delete itself once the theft has taken place to avoid detection. A frightening concept as you could unknowingly grant a hacker access to your online bank accounts, targeting both individuals and businesses.
STAY ALERT- BE PREPARED
Whenever there is an opportunity for financial gain, hackers and criminals will try to take advantage. So stay vigilant, stay safe. Ensure you have the latest anti-virus software installed on your system. Try encrypted password protection for your home and business networks and install a firewall to help block attacks from cyber criminals.
Finally, if you are a business consider investing in cyber insurance. Whilst this is not a replacement for robust IT security, data protection and a response plan, it can act as a safety net. A comprehensive policy helps protect your organisation from the moment a cyber or data breach occurs.
Research has shown a general lack of knowledge surrounding the matter; therefore it is vital to understand the potential harm your business could face and to ensure your cyber policy is tailored to meet those needs.
GIVE US A CALL
If you would like any independent insurance advice on the matter or would like to arrange a review of your insurance, please get in touch.
Sources: 1.Guardian News 2. Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2016 (Gov.uk)