Cyber crime is the act of using a computer system to commit a criminal offence, with some of the most common types being hacking, phishing and ransomware.
Criminals use computer technology to access personal information or manipulate online resources for exploitative or malicious purposes.
Phishing is a method used by cyber criminals to gain access to sensitive information. It involves using deceptive emails or websites that appear to be from recognisable companies or brands in order to gain the user’s trust. Phishing scams could also involve tricking the user into downloading malicious software which can then be used to spy on them, gather their personal information or even disable their computer system entirely.
Data refers to any digitised information. It can refer to anything from your customers’ personal details to images and recordings stored on your computer system. If this information is taken or stolen from your system without your knowledge or authorisation, a data breach has occurred.
A hacker is someone who gains unauthorised access to computer systems or networks. If a hacker successfully gains access to your system then you’ve been hacked.
In some instances, a hacker may hold your data to ransom, threatening to alter, delete or share it unless you pay them. They are often highly skilled computer programmers who exploit weaknesses in computer systems and networks to obtain access to your data.
If you use computers to run your business, you could be exposed to cyber threats. Activity that could put you at risk include: using email, taking online payments, and holding customer or employee-related data.
If your website or network is hacked, it takes time and money to fix. Without cyber cover to help you get back on your feet, the escalating costs of fixing the problem, protecting your systems and data, and implementing new cyber security could cripple a small business. You may have also breached data protection laws, or contractual obligations (such as confidentiality agreements), which means you could be faced with fines and ordered to pay compensation.
Cyber cover will safeguard your business from being overwhelmed by expenses and provide you with expert assistance as you deal with this complex problem.
Get a business insurance quote by searching for your profession above or calling us on 0345 878 5603.
This describes the measures you take to maintain network security in the face of computer crime.
One of the biggest threats to small businesses is ransomware. This is when hackers trick computer users into downloading a piece of software that locks users out of their system and prevents them from using their computer unless they pay a ransom to the hackers.
Ransomware can rapidly infect entire networks, potentially crippling your ability to do business and if you are connected to a client’s network you could be liable for disabling their system as well.
Lots of small businesses do not have high enough levels of cyber security in place, which makes them easy targets for hackers. It just takes one click on a suspect email attachment for cyber criminals to gain access to your system.
It’s important to take a proactive approach when fighting cyber crime. Online criminals employ many sophisticated techniques to gain access to your data, but there are several simple steps you can take to make their lives more difficult:
Most cyber issues arise from simple mistakes, like accidentally sending an email to the wrong recipient or leaving your work laptop on a train. However, you can take simple, proactive steps to make sure your business isn’t vulnerable to cyber crime. For example: encrypting emails, making use of passwords, locking the screen when you step away from your computer, and encouraging your employees to do the same.
Your employees should understand the importance of keeping company data and systems safe and should be given guidance on the necessary actions they may need to take.
It’s very easy to put off installing the latest security updates for your PCs, laptops, smartphones tablets and software, but even though it might take a few minutes, it’s important to close the gaps in your cyber security. The older your operating systems are, the more likely that they are vulnerable to cyber threat.
Again, it’s important that you make sure you’re running the most sophisticated antivirus software available to you.
You don’t have to pay a lot of money for good protection, but you do have to make sure that you take advantage of any available patches and upgrades, as hackers are constantly developing workarounds and ways to breach your security.
Passwords are often not the safest way to protect your data. It’s all too easy to rely on two or three standby passwords, which are often far too short and easy to hack. A two factor authentication system requires you to connect another device, like your phone, to your account and then a new code is sent to you every time you log in. This extra step makes it a lot more difficult for hackers to access your password-protected applications.
The more devices that log into your network, the more chance that the network could be compromised. Although it’s tempting for small businesses to save money by allowing employees to use their personal machines at work, you simply don’t know who has had access to their computer or what kind of viruses they’re bringing into your network. If you standardise the devices used for your business, you can control the level of security and antivirus software installed on them.
This may sound obvious, but it’s surprising how easy it is to forget to maintain good backup practices. It’s helpful to make use of cloud computing when you’re on the go so that your files aren’t saved solely on a physical device. However, it’s also wise to make use of an external hard drive and run periodic backup sessions, so that if your online network is compromised, your files are safely contained in an offline repository.
It is also important to make sure the external drives are kept secure and to consider using data encryption where possible.