The threat of UK cybercrime is reaching a critical level

The threat of UK cybercrime is reaching a critical level

5th July 2016 Security

Cybercrime is a massive threat to UK businesses and it is reaching a critical state. The Government has identified it as one of the biggest real threats to the UK economy. Most businesses are ill-equipped to deal it and for those that handle sensitive information, this poses some very real risks.

There are various types of cybercrime, each targeting a different area of a business with different intent. Attacks that target insufficiently protected information are likely to be the most significant concern. These include Botnet attacks, remotely controlled computer Bots which can perform illicit tasks, and phishing, in which cyber criminals offer bait in order to collect information from end users. The Government has responded to the rapidly increasing threat of business targeted cybercrime by investing £650 million into the National Cyber Security Programme. This has bolstered the UK’s cyber defences, but much remains to be done to protect businesses from this threat.

Businesses can implement a variety of precautions to protect themselves from the threat of cybercrime. Boundary firewalls and internet gateways can help to establish a network of perimeter defences, blocking executable downloads, access to malicious domains and outside communication with established internet malware protection. Regular maintenance of such malware defences will ensure that known attack code is detected and addressed.

A recent GCHQ report on common cyber-attacks and reducing their impact suggests that businesses should provide staff with effective training on cyber security in order to reinforce their frontline defences. Staff should be encouraged to use strong passwords that cannot be breached by a simple dictionary attack.

Encryption of data should also be deployed, ensuring that stolen hard disks and lost USB drives cannot be accessed. 95% of all successful cyber-attacks generally involve human error, making this aspect of cyber protection vital.

Although these basic protections are important, they are not enough to protect against the threat of cybercrime that is increasingly complex and ever-evolving. Thieves are working more quickly than companies can defend themselves, launching more malicious attacks than ever before. In 2015 more than 317 million new pieces of malware were created, which averages out at nearly one million new threats every day. To defend themselves businesses should deploy integrated advanced threat solutions that include threat intelligence and incident response capabilities.

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Henry Chaw: