Recent statistics illustrate that cybercrime is on the increase. Cybercrime costs the UK billions of pounds, causing disruption to businesses and causing a threat to the security of the nation. The Covid pandemic further compounded this issue, with increasing attacks by criminals on business struggling to adapt to remote working. Traditional cyber criminals are also moving away from activities such as stealing credit card details towards simpler tactics such as cyber extortion, which is now a now multi-million-dollar criminal industry.
Prevention and protection from cybercrime is therefore a vital consideration for individuals and boardrooms. Corporate bodies hold vast quantities of data that carry huge financial and reputation-based repercussions should they be hacked, or their information leaked or compromised. Such increasing volumes of data are also what make these bodies hugely appealing, and therefore particularly vulnerable to, cyber criminals.
Cybercrime denotes any crime involving use of a computer or internet. These crimes can be economic (for example, hacking or fraud) or non-financially related (for example, cyber stalking, trolling or spreading false news).
These are crimes committed purely through the use of online devices (making devices both the target and the method of committing these offences). These include:
Traditional crimes whose incidence is increased by use of devices, including stalking, grooming and fraud.
The most common form of cybercrime is hacking. At its core, cyber hacking relates to the gaining of access into another person’s computer network or device, without permission.
Hackers typically undertake the practice of identifying weaknesses in computer systems or networks, and exploit these weaknesses to gain entry and steal information, money or cause disruption. However, hacking is a very broad term covering a range of behaviours achieving this central aim - these vary not only in method but severity.
It is vital that individuals and organisations protect themselves against the risks of cybercrime and hacking as a priority. Prevention is better than cure and having these protections in place before the need arises can make a massive difference when things do go wrong. Hacking can result in hugely detrimental outcomes, from compromising your personal safety to loss of trade secrets, customers and reputation damage for businesses.
The importance of these measures also relates to the ever-evolving techniques cybercriminals use to covertly penetrate computer networks and systems, which render almost any reaction too late. Increasing awareness of the repercussions, sophistication and speed of cybercrime is therefore pivotal to its prevention.
Pursuant to this understanding, effective prevention no longer falls under the simple remit of strong passwords and safe storage of devices. While these still remain imperative actions for yourself and your company to take, there are other preventative methods you should consider implementing.
Individuals should think about the types of websites they have recently visited that will have stored their data. Big social media sites and online shops have been victim to data breaches in the past. It is important to monitor and keep track of your internet activity so that you can quickly change your password in the event that a data breach occurs. The Metropolitan Police advises that individuals should be mindful of keeping the software on their devices up to date.
It is also imperative to check the accuracy of the information you supply to your accounts, as well as exercising caution in relation to what you post that is, or could easily be made, public.
For businesses in particular, it is imperative to have a solid cyber security plan. These protect and prevent plans ought to include:
Particularly in the instance of high-profile individuals and organisations, it is important to have a crisis team ready to act in the event that any breaches do occur. A crisis team will be able to help with a security and reputation audit to protect you against any potential risks, as well as assisting you in taking immediate action to remedy any breaches should they occur.
The information on this website is intended as a guide and does not constitute legal advice. Vardags do not accept liability for any errors in the information on this website, nor any losses stemming from reliance upon the statements made herein. All articles and pages aim to reflect the legal position at time they were published, and may have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments in the law. Should you require specialist advice, tailored to your situation, please see how Vardags can help you.