In 2001, the Internet was still laying its groundwork. Back then, most online purchases were paid for by money order. By 2014, consumers shifted to credit and debit cards for nearly 80% of all online transactions. Last year alone, cybercrime in business totaled $1 billion in annual U.S. losses.
As technology advances, criminals are working just as hard to keep up. While business owners can’t ensure complete immunity from cybercrime, certain protective measures could drastically enhance overall security.
What is Cybercrime?
Cybercrime is any crime involving a computer or computer network committed over the Internet. Cybercriminals use computers to steal personal or business information, including confidential documents and data stored in a computer network. Once obtained, cybercriminals can expose private security information or use it to gain financial profit at the expense of the business.
Types of Cybercrime
Cybercriminals can attack businesses from various angles. Be on the lookout for some of these forms of cybercrime:
- Criminals target more than just individuals. Now, there is cybercrime in business. Since banks and creditors are not legally required to cover financial losses, criminals can steal a business’s identity to establish credit with banks or retailers. Consequentially, 60% of businesses that endure identity theft shut down within 1 year.
- Criminals use numerous software to break into a business’ computer network and steal personal and customer information. Hackers need to have advanced computer knowledge to sort through complicated codes and algorithms in order to identify details about a network. Businesses may not even be aware this is happening because data is being secretly retrieved from an isolated location.
- Generally, this is when an individual uses the Internet to stalk someone, sometimes in a harmful or threatening way. This can be when an individual terrorizes a company for financial gain or conspires revenge on a former employer. Spyware software can give access to private computer or cellular business information.
- Criminals trick business owners into giving away vital information. Often times, this can come in the form of emails that are disguised to look like they are from bank or credit card companies. Sometimes, it can appear to be a legitimate company asking to verify personal credentials. Look to the domain name for clues. Phishers will often use subdomains, something legitimate companies would never do.
- A virus that seizes data files from a PC, and sometimes cannot be recovered without a valid encryption key. Viruses can be acquired through opening e-mails or accessing websites that are infected with the virus. Only the most current security software can keep a business safe from file hijacking.
- Criminals implement a software or device to gain access to every keystroke made on an individual keyboard. Business owners would be giving away valuable usernames, passwords or account number without even knowing it.
How to Defend Against Cybercrime?
Install Security Software
- Purchasing high quality anti-virus software is an investment that can safeguard critical business information and keep it out of the wrong hands.
Avoid Suspicious Emails
- Don't open emails from unfamiliar senders.
- Never submit passwords or PIN numbers via email requests.
- Check the domain name. Never trust content delivered by subdomains.
Check Bank Statements Frequently
- Report suspicious activity immediately.
- Be aware of business puchases. Prompt action at the onset of cybercrime can greatly reduce the risk of further damages.
Make Sure Your Computer is Current With Updates
- Keep up-to-date with software fixes to help block hackers from accessing business data.
Cybercrime is on the rise. On average, the global economy loses over $300 billion due to cyber-attacks. Take precautionary measures to enjoy long-term success and protect your company from becoming a victim of cybercrime in business.