How to reduce your firm’s exposure to cybercrime

Cybercrime poses a real and present danger to any company operating on the internet environment.

Annually, trillions of dollars are lost every year to online crime – so much so that the World Economic Forum suggests the sums involved already make cybercrime the third-largest economy in the world. Moreover, as our offline and online worlds converge more and more, the threats posed by cybercriminals will only continue to increase.

Steps you can take to protect you, your staff, and your company

At the heart of staying safe online lies education. If you learn to spot the giveaway signs of cybercrime and follow established protection procedures within your company, you’ll be far less-likely to fall victim to an attack. Employing Threat Intelligence in your organization will allow you and your staff to identify the main areas of risk and put you in a better position to combat the dangers of cybercrime.

Common forms of attack

Cyberattacks come in many forms but, in general, employees pose the greatest weak link to a company through the mismanagement of data or simple ignorance of safety procedures. Granting anyone in your firm access to sensitive company data comes with an inherent risk, so it’s essential you properly educate those with privileged access – and also keep them up to date with emerging threats.

Through the last 20-or-so years, cybercriminals have begun employing increasingly sophisticated tactics, often mimicking human behavior in an attempt to avoid detection. Here are some of the most common ways a hacker can attempt to infiltrate your organization.


Phishing is an approach that fools the user into parting with their ID credentials such as usernames and passwords. In most cases, the hacker will spoof an email address so it appears from a genuine source and either ask for sensitive information or redirect the recipient to an official-looking mock website so as to grab their details.

Attacks via personal devices:

As more and more employees start to use their own cell phones, tablets and laptops to access company networks, so the problem of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) attacks has increased. If an employee accesses your network with their own equipment, you must ensure they follow rigorous security practices. BYOD has become such a problem that many companies now either bar independent device use or provide employees with strictly-vetted equipment.

Stolen/lost work equipment:

There has been an increasing problem in recent years with employees losing devices – or having them stolen. You can protect yourself from the dangers or lost/stolen equipment by ensuring entry credentials aren’t automatically stored and instead require access on a per-session basis.

Ransomware attacks:

In a ransomware attack, the hacker bars access to sensitive company data and demands a ransom payment from the user to get their data back. Ransomware threats are on the increase – particularly in the Small to Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) sector.

Malware attacks:

Malware attacks mostly come in the form of viruses or trojan horses contained in infected downloads or transferred from bogus web links to the user’s machine. You can help mitigate the dangers of malware infiltrating your organization by preventing employees from installing unauthorized software and educating them on the dangers of opening unsolicited emails. Malware can cause significant problems as it is usually programmed so that it transfers across all machines in your network – and may even infect your clients’ machines.

Final Words

Staying on top of your organization’s security needn’t be a challenge and taking other basic precautions like running up-to-date virus software and firewalls will help you and your team stay safe. For the most bulletproof protection, you should also consider hiring the services of a professional IT support company.

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