Your computer system may be compromised in many ways, whether this is from individual accidents or failed software; but there is one risk which causes more damage than most and creates more uncertainties; that is the risk of cyber threat. Defining cyber threat is simple; it is the possibility of a malicious attempt to damage, disrupt or steal from a computer system or network. However, due to the rapid evolution and variety of cyber threats out there, protecting yourself from cyber threats is incredibly complicated and requires focus and dedication.
The first known computer cyberattack came in 1971 in the form of a virus named the Creeper and would display the message “I’m the Creeper, catch me if you can”. However, the virus was seen more of an annoyance rather than causing long lasting or catastrophic damage. Since then, cyber threats have evolved and pose a much larger risk to organisations and understanding the types of threat you face should be an important part of your strategy. These threats now include:
- Phishing Scams – An attack which poses itself as a trusted source and tricks victims into handing over sensitive information or clicking on a malicious link.
- Malware – The most common threat which includes Viruses, Trojans, Worms and Spyware. These infect computer systems and cause large scale damage.
- Hacking – The most preventable of cyber threats is the simple act of solving or stealing a password to access private information.
- Denial-of-Service (DOS) – By overwhelming systems with traffic and data, systems can become overloaded and be taken offline in a ‘distributed-denial-of-service (DDOS)attack’. With the systems then grinding to a halt, hackers can then cause further damage.
With recent research showing two thirds of UK businesses have been victims of cyber breaches or attacks in the past year, are you doing enough to counteract these threats? And what else can you do to protect yourselves?
Businesses worldwide are now spending more and more money on their cyber security. In 2014 it was 71.1 billion globally, rising to 75 billion in 2015 and is estimated to reach 101 billion by 2018. On top of this, the UK government has recently spent a record £1.9 billion on investment to try and crack down on cyber crime and has introduced a scheme known as Cyber Essentials which guides businesses in protecting themselves against cyber threats. However, UK businesses are encouraged to do more to protect themselves since the majority of cyber threats which occurred were preventable through the Cyber Essentials scheme.
The Cyber Security Breaches Survey found that only half of the large firms that suffer from cyber attacks at least once a month are taking appropriate and recommended actions to help protect themselves.
Cyber threats are always going to be out there; hackers are always going to find new ways to get into your system and cause damage. However, with the continued spend and improvement of cyber security, companies who are willing to invest can feel safe in the knowledge their computers will be safe from cyber criminals. While there are many threats out there, it could be argued that the most serious threat to your company’s network is company or individual complacency. Spend dedicated time protecting your business, and you will reap the benefits.