Cybercrime and cyber warfare are increasingly becoming a considerable threat worldwide. Cybercrime is when data systems of individuals or businesses are targeted for financial gain, intellectual property theft, stealing secret information, disrupting vital operations, or simply creating panic and nuisance.
Cyberwarfare is the targeted use of cybercrime for disrupting a country’s economic progress by attacking the main pillars of its economy. Cyberwarfare could be waged by one nation against another. An example would be the constant allegations by the US that Russia has been waging systematic cyber warfare against it.
According to a recent report by Cybersecurity Ventures, if cybercrime were measured as a country, then it would be the world’s third-largest economy after the U.S and China, as it is estimated that it would inflict 6 trillion USD worth of damages globally in 2021.
As per various reports, cyber crimes have increased alarmingly during the Covid period. According to the FBI‘s 2020 Internet Crime Report, which was released in March this year, the number of cybercrime complaints in 2020 saw an increase of more than 300,000 from 2019. Furthermore, the Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI received at least 28,500 complaints related to the coronavirus pandemic, with businesses and individuals being targeted alike.
How Can Businesses Enhance Cyber Security
Businesses now realize the importance of investing in cybersecurity measures. And it’s not just large businesses that are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Small and medium-sized enterprises are equally at risk.
Every business ought to take specific measures to prevent cyber crimes and make cybersecurity an essential component of its policy and operations.
Invest in Cyber Security Technologies
All businesses, whether big or small, need to invest in the latest cybersecurity technologies. An enormous company can use artificial intelligence and deep learning to ensure optimum user identity protection and analyze data to foresee and predict in advance any possible cyber threats.
For any business, the use of antivirus software is a must. Such software also needs to be constantly updated and upgraded to ward off potential threats. Then, common mechanisms such as firewalls and encrypted connections for ensuring optimal data security are a must. A business can also consider using VPN services. Since virtual private networks encrypt data and hide users’ IP addresses, these are very popular with individuals and businesses alike from the point of view of data privacy.
These days Blockchain Technology is also being used by businesses to enhance cybersecurity. The Blockchain Network is a unique model of storing information comprising of a network of computers. In this network, data is essentially stored and shared as blocks. Its outstanding characteristic is that once a user adds some information to this chain, that information or data cannot be edited or deleted.
A separate mechanism is used for making changes to that data instead. That is, a new block is added. This enables everyone who is a part of that chain to see all the changes made. Through its unique data encryption mode and the process of tracking a difference at every step, it creates a rather formidable network that would be difficult for hackers to enter.
Training Staff in Basics of Cyber Security
This is an often overlooked aspect of cybersecurity operations in businesses. While investment in sophisticated technologies at a more significant level is beneficial, it is equally important to educate workers about the basics of safe online practices. A seemingly harmless gesture like clicking an unknown link from a suspicious email in the spam folder by an office worker could lead to serious cybersecurity threats for the entire organization.
Businesses should conduct regular training sessions with employees on the basics of cybersecurity. The IT department cannot handle everything. Companies should rope in cybersecurity professionals for this purpose if the need be. One of the essential things is reinforcing the importance of strong passwords. A large number of employees still don’t realize the threat posed by weak passwords. Some people keep the same password for all their accounts. So employees need to be constantly reminded of these basics.
They also need to be educated on the basics of detecting and reporting suspicious email links and a potential cyber threat. Cybercrime has become very sophisticated these days. There are multiple scams in which the source looks credible, so obviously, even a relatively aware person falls for that. So employees need to be given an overview of the kinds of cybercrimes prevalent and presented with regular case studies to understand a potential threat if and when it comes their way.
Regular Data Backup
This is such an essential primary step that it is a must to minimize the damage caused by cybercrime. All data of your company needs to be backed up regularly. This is such a simple practice, and yet companies miss on this. Creating offline backups is a must for all confidential and sensitive information.
Individuals are Also Vulnerable to Cyber Crimes
Although there is more emphasis on big businesses and corporations getting affected by cybercrime, individuals are equally vulnerable. It is, therefore, vital that they, too, undertake basic cybersecurity measures at their level. Individuals are even more at risk because, unlike businesses, they can’t invest in critical cybersecurity infrastructure.
Individuals are victims of cybercrimes like data theft, phishing attacks, and ransomware. Not all cybercriminals have a specific purpose in mind when they attack someone’s data or system. Some of them want to create chaos and confusion in people’s lives and make them miserable.
Cyber attacks are also common against individuals who reveal information or share viewpoints that someone does not want to come out in the public domain. This applies to intellectuals, journalists, and political activists who voice their opinions on controversial issues.
That is why for such individuals, sometimes confidentiality and anonymity become essential for their safety. Many such people use the dark web for their work as it makes it easier for them to voice their opinion without the fear of threat and intimidation.
Many individuals are also subscribing to a virtual private network’s services to protect their privacy and conceal their identity, thus ensuring safety from any potential cyber threats.
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