We all wish that Cyber Crime would just disappear or that the government would figure out a way to control it…unfortunately, the trends do not support this scenario.
Businesses are now required to plan for the certain dangers associated with a Cyber Attack. Businesses have adapted over the years to mitigate the risks of natural perils (floods, fires, etc…), now we are called to adapt to the threats of Cyber Crimes beyond having an anti-virus installed. For all intents and purposes, Cyber Crimes are like any other total loss or partial loss perils to business and must be planned for accordingly.
To effectively plan for Cyber Perils, we’ve included a view into the present and future states of Cyber Security for businesses and your “911” option.
First, start by downloading our Cyber Attack Emergency Checklist. These step by step instructions can be placed at every employee’s desk if they are to experience a Cyber Attack.
The Present State of Cyber Security and Ransomware
This year’s waves of WannaCry Ransomware serve as a stark reminder to small and mid-sized businesses that no organization is exempt from the reach of organized Cyber Crime. The cyber criminals of 5 years ago, have changed dramatically. Dark Reading, an online publication from InformationWeek, created an infographic of today’s “hacker persona.” The commentary presents profiles of the hacker from “Cyber Warrior” and “Principled Idealist” to the individual focused on bringing down the private sector – coined as “Professional Mercenary” and “Malicious Insider”. (1)
The SEC reported that 60% of all targeted cyber attacks struck small and mid-sized businesses (2). Due to the ease of access to sensitive information and the lack of protection, the SMB market is a favored target by Cyber Criminals.
Ransomware has gained notoriety by leaders in the business sector and government agencies as the top business risk today. Some believe that Cyber Security is a people problem. Human error does contribute largely to the success of Cyber Attacks but this is not the only contributing factor to hackers gaining access to your data, network or corporate information. Here is a short list of factors to consider:
- Weak Passwords (yes, this is still a big factor)
- Lack of IT Policies to guide or restrict user activity
- Insufficient data back up
- Misplaced company mindset of, “It won’t happen to us”
The Future of Ransomware and Cyber Security
A growing consensus among federal agencies and top industry professionals is that Cyber Crime targeting the SMB space is here to stay. Fueling this trend is the digital currency used by these groups who live on the Dark Web. Bitcoin is taking a strong foothold in this emerging black market as the use and value have skyrocketed due to the anonymity afforded to users. Researchers are noticing a correlation between the instances of Cyber Crime and the value of Bitcoin. (3)
“When Bitcoin prices dropped…the research from security firm ZeroFox showed a 16% drop in the volume of scams in the days that followed. Ultimately, cyber criminals thrive on buzz,” says ZeroFox data scientist Phil Tully. “Bitcoin prices reaching new highs make the currency more tempting both for scammers and for their new potential victims.” (3)
Thanks to the media coverage of Ransomware by news outlets worldwide, cyber security is becoming a required strategic initiative for companies interested in maintaining a competitive advantage. Increasing year over year, hacker groups are evolving as fast as IT Pros are combatting their activities, but these organizations are becoming aware that they are now up against business leaders who are informed and prepared.
Cyber Security – Your Options Are…
Do you have a “911” if your business is a victim of Cyber Crime? Most people think twice about who they would call if they were to experience a Cyber Crime emergency. You really have two options, have a rock star IT staff employed by your company or domestically outsource your IT Security.
Regardless, increase awareness through training of your staff to understand the risks and causes of Cyber Attacks, specifically how to recognize when they are being targeted.
Request a Security Assessment here:
Do not settle! The IT Security talent market is experiencing an unemployment rate close to zero due to the specialized skill set required. (4) Top IT outsourcing firms have been investing in skilled security talent for many years. These highly sought-after professionals have a deep understanding of the latest business solutions in the cyber security space as well as the technological know-how to design and implement environments specific to industry and business needs.
Work with a trusted managed service provider to implement policies and procedures for your company. These providers are like a multi-threaded cord, they are not easily broken.