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Phishing, ransomware and CEO fraud may sound like terms that only make sense in the world of IT, but they are phrases many businesses are sadly becoming more accustomed to as cyber attacks continue to increase and are fast becoming one of the biggest threats to UK firms, particularly SMEs.
As experts in the field of online security here at PAV i.t. we are dedicated to helping fellow businesses protect their assets. This is why we will be delivering our expert advice to a county-wide audience when we take tackle the issues of cybercrime at the Best4Biz conference in association with the Alliance of Chambers in East Sussex (ACES) next month. Here we discuss the real threat of cyber attacks and what businesses can do to protect themselves.
A cyber attack can take various forms with criminals and fraudsters taking advantage of the many different types of technology firms have at their disposal. Hackers use all sorts of sophisticated paths to gain entry to a firm's records – and their opportunities to breach a business's security are increasing. The rise in smart devices, such as printers, phones and even heating systems that may connect to a company's internal network, are providing even more avenues for hackers, heightening the threat they pose.
While hackers target devices and systems, fraudsters go after people and rely on naivety and familiarity to get the details they want – which will then allow them to get into a firm's network. These types of attacks come under the 'social engineering' banner as fraudsters use psychological manipulation against their victims. Such scams include phishing – in which the fraudster will send convincing and legitimate-looking emails asking for specific details (such as bank account numbers), or directing victims to a web page that will extract information from the user's computer.
Another form of attack – ransomware – is used to extract large sums of money from companies, in exchange for their information. Predicted to be one of the major cyber threats to businesses, ransomware encrypts a firm's files, rendering them useless. The criminal will then contact the company with a ransom to get its information back.
It is clear the ways and means for criminals to attack businesses are myriad so it is vastly important companies do all they can to protect themselves.
SMEs have been highlighted as being particularly vulnerable, with a government survey into security breaches finding that almost three quarters (74%) of small to medium enterprises had been hit by attackers in the last 12 months.
The survey, published earlier this year, revealed the number of breaches had increased compared to 2013 and 2014 and experts have said SMEs are being increasingly targeted by cyber criminals and fraudsters.
The threat is real and rising so companies must factor in security policies. The fast-pace at which technology is moving has allowed for tougher security programmes and software to be developed, in order to fight the same advances cyber criminals are making.
Some companies may feel they are not at risk from cyber crime but fraudsters do not discriminate and have many tools as their disposal. And as research has shown, smaller firms are at a higher risk.
We are committed to helping companies guard against attacks and spreading the word of warning, so they know where they might be vulnerable and the necessary steps they can then take to protect themselves.
It is part of this commitment that has led us to sign up as guest speakers at the Best4Biz conference. Being held at De Le Warr Pavillion in Bexhill on Friday 14th October, it aims to show businesses how to make the most of technology and avoid the security pitfalls it can throw up. We will be highlighting the threats to SMEs, demonstrating the techniques used by fraudsters and providing information on what can be done to protect companies from being targeted.
If you cannot make it to the conference but would like to know more about protecting your business, call us on 01273 834 000 or complete our enquiry form.