Cyber – “The New Age” – Crime

It’s time to look at the world we live in today and how we got here.

So your quick history lesson begins with the industrial revolution, pulses at William Gilbert’s first use of the term “electricity”, nods appreciatively at Alan Turing’s work breaking the enigma code that kick started our use of computing, and pays homage to Tim Berners-Lee’s creation of the worldwide web, that has fundamentally altered almost every aspect of our lives. Makes you proud to be British doesn’t it!

The domination of the internet in our lives has opened up a myriad of opportunities, and this is also true of crime. Old fashioned crimes such as armed robbery are in decline. No need for a balaclava and a “shooter” anymore, with a laptop and a pineapple wi-fi you can steal a 1000 times as much and create havoc in the process. It is fair to say that our police, faced with financial restrictions got left behind when these “New Age Crimes” exploded on the scene, and have been playing catch up ever since.

There are many directions a cyber attack can come from and our increasing use of technology induces evolution in these. Below are my “Magnificent Seven” areas for consideration. Each could, and should be expanded when assessing your specific business model.

Magnificent Seven

Impersonation

The internet can provide a little or a lot of anonymity, so much so that you should be asking yourself, am I sure who I am are actually dealing with? There are specialist websites called Fake Mailers, that offer the ability to create and send an email that appears to come from another person. Type it into Google and see for yourself just how easy it is to send a bogus email.

Virus Protection

This is an easy one for your business and yourself. Subscribe, download, run your system scans, enough said.

Penetration Testing

I really do think that “Pen Testing” is still underused. Discovering system weaknesses from an ethical hack is a no brainer in my opinion. There are firms that offer presentations with real time examples. I went to one myself where they hacked into a broadband connection via a wi-fi kettle!

Website Monitoring

For those of you who run small businesses without a full time IT security manager, and/or staff there are firms that now offer quarterly threat monitoring assessment and reporting for a yearly subscription of around £400-500.

Passwords

Your name, your pets name, your date of birth, part of your address, months of the year, your mobile number, email address or combinations of any of the above are serious “No No’s” as there are plenty of online “Password Cracking Tools”. Don’t believe me, again Google it for yourself. If you’ve switched to a password generator which a lot of people have now, consider how and where its stored and who has access to it. People do still keep a post-it note reminder at their desks.

Social Media

I know I mentioned this in my last article but our obsession with posting every aspect of our lives online for others to see, read and comment about continues unabated. Consider how much information that could form your password at number 5 above could be harvested from your social media activities? A standard bank security question is the name of favourite your pet. And look there’s a selfie on Facebook with “Fluffy” the cat!

Ransomware

Downloading a software application that freezes your computer is a nightmare scenario for businesses. Payment demands can vary in size, are usually made in cryptocurrency, keeps the perpetrators anonymous and makes investigation difficult and time consuming. Be wary of attachments, if you’re not expecting it, don’t open it is the mantra.

So if your login password is indeed currently on a post-it note, will the cleaner walking past your desk or peeking in a drawer tonight read it? £50 to them in a brown envelope would be very well spent wouldn’t it!

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