desperate person in front of several computer after WannaCry attack

The rise of cyber crime

What does cyber crime mean?

Cyber crime is a criminal activity that involves a computer or digital media and a network – in most cases, the Internet.
The computer may have been used in the commission of a crime, or it may be the target. Cyber crime may threaten a person or a nation’s security and financial health. Issues surrounding these types of crimes have become high-profile, particularly those surrounding hacking, copyright infringement, unwarranted mass-surveillance, child pornography, and child grooming. There are also problems of privacy when confidential information is intercepted or disclosed, lawfully or otherwise.

It doesn’t matter if you are working in the most secure environment, unemployed, retired or still at school, whether you often have a smartphone in your hand or only use a e-reader: you are at risk. Everyone connected to the Internet can be a victim.

Where did it all start?

The first ransomware attack was reported in 1989. The victim was told to pay $189 in order to receive a repair tool. Nowadays, a lot of companies would have been happy to pay $189.

Ransomware attack has evolved a lot over the years. Looking back 20 years, the most common cyber-attacks were malicious code, Trojans and advanced worms. Ten years later this changed to botnets, DNS attacks and spam sites. Nowadays, cyber-attacks include banking malware, bitcoin wallet stealers, ransomware, PoS attacks, to name a few. Now, as incidents on ransomware are on the rise, it has become the biggest cyber security threat.

Why do cyber criminals attack?

Understanding why cyber criminals attack is the first step to protecting yourself. There are three key reasons why:

  1. Financial gain: this is the primary motivation for the majority of attacks. The cyber criminal is looking for either an immediate or indirect financial gain.
  2. Corporate information: attackers who target corporate information are also looking for financial gain. Home users and offices are a good starting point for cyber criminals looking to get corporate information. Cyber criminals will target home networks to see how much information they can get, which they could then use against the company or in another type of attack.
  3. Egocentricity: the attacker is not seeking financial gain but recognition, acknowledging that they have the skills and knowledge to defeat the security. This reason is far less common than the first two.

Which are the consequences of a cyber-attack?

  • Reputational: many businesses do not consider the reputational damage an attack could have on their business, especially if data is stolen.
  • Financial: even if you do not pay cyber criminals you may well experience business down time which will lead to financial loss.
  • Downtime: if you fall victim to a cyber-attack you are more than likely to experience business down time. Could your business operate without data, documents or email?
  • Legal: there may be legal implications, if you do not have the correct security and data protection regulations in place you may be liable.

These are few of the consequences, but there are many, many more.
Do you have an online business? Read our article about “How to shield your online business from cyber-attacks”.

What does it all mean?

That means, during the next five years cyber crime might become the greatest threat to every person, place and thing in the world.
A major problem is lack of awareness: most people don’t necessarily realize the risks they face on their mobile devices or take security seriously. And while mobile devices are increasingly being breached, security is still not a top priority in app design.

Are you prepared? How do you protect yourself and your business against cyber crime?

Flavia Piantino Gazzano
flavia@mon-k.com

Graduated in Public Relations and Communication, specialized in Business Communication, she has gained a decade of experience as account, project manager, digital marketer and growth hacker. Flavia has a strong focus on digital transformation, social media, PR; she uses strategic communication as a strong asset in her life and has a creative approach to problem solving. Her goal is to create effective and efficient business growth strategies. She works with Mon-K since 2015 as Marketing and Communication Manager.

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