Cybercrime, Would Your Business Survive?

  • Posted by: Qbt Audit
  • Category: Security
Qbt Consulting Cybercrime, Would Your Business Survive?

Without a doubt, cybercrime is the biggest threat to Australian business. In a recent publication, the Allianz Risk Barometer, Cyber Incidents were ranked as the third highest risk to business after supply chain interruption and volatile markets. How would your business fair against a cyber attack? What can your business do to protect yourself against the newest Australian Criminal element and how can you combat cybercrime?

Types of Cybercrime Attacks

The bad guys are becoming more organised, regimented and dedicated to breaking into your business and taking your valuable information and data. To this end, they’re making use of some sophisticated tactics to weasel their way in.

Malware

The most common and often the most damaging piece in the hacker’s toolkit. Malware is a small piece of software that once on your computer can cause an array of issues. From totally taking over your computer or system, to silently logging all your keystrokes. Their ultimate goal is to send confidential data back to the hackers home base. If you’ve ever had an anti-virus alert pop up on your computer or accidentally clicked a malicious email attachment – you’ve had a brush with malware.

Phishing

To support the spread and effectiveness of Malware, the delivery is often through a Phishing attack. The bad guys know you wouldn’t open an attachment or click a link from a random email (for the most part). They employ Phishing tactics to ensure deployment. Phishing plays on human curiosity, impulses and depends on our ignorance to red flag indicators. More often than not, a Phishing attack will appear to come from someone or something legitimate. Using basic humans traits as a ‘way in’ makes it very hard for technology providers and software to stop. There is no bigger risk to your businesses security system than your staff.

SQL Injection Attack

SQL is a language used to communicate with database servers. The internet is, in effect, a giant database. Many of the servers that store critical data for websites, applications, services and businesses are written in SQL. An injection attack is the first threat in the list that uses actual hacking in favour of emotional hacking to get results. Using one of the known SQL vulnerabilities hackers will force the server, through a malicious code, to divulge information that it usually wouldn’t. For example, an attacker may be able to enter a code into a websites search field. If that server is unprotected against injection attacks, it could dump a full list of usernames and passwords it has stored.

Credential Reuse

Similar to Phishing, this attack type is rooted in human nature and failings. It seems that each time we jump onto the internet, each page wants us to have a different user account and password. I myself, investigating after writing this post, have over 140 online accounts with various websites and groups. We have a lot. Because of this, it’s very tempting to reuse credentials (or slight variations) for all our accounts to make life a little easier. When an attacker obtains a collection of usernames and passwords they know there’s a better than not chance, using those credentials on other pages will work.

The Real Effect of Cybercrime

Australians as a whole have long had a mentality of threat-isolation. We’ve long been protected by our country being gurt by sea. This may go some way to explain why the majority of business owners are not seeing this danger as the very real threat it is. Your critical business information, customer data and invaluable Intelectual Property are your attackers’ target and they’re going above and beyond to get it.

Damaged Reputation

The internet is an interesting place. Its power and influence have grown at an exponential rate. With the rise of instant information gratification, the relationship between the consumer or client and business has changed dramatically. Businesses must develop, build and maintain the trust of their client base at every step. One wrong move and it can all be over. Using the results of a global survey by Gemalto to prove my point, nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated that as a result of a data breach would see them cut ties with the company completely. Destroying any chance of positive recommendations or referrals from that relationship. Of those two thirds, 95% stated they’d consider legal action against any party involved. At its core, a data breach results in the erosion of customer trust.

Damage to Intellectual Property

In addition to the devastating effects of exposing sensitive consumer information, cybercrime has the ability to destroy a business’s competitive edge in their sector. Imagine KFC’s Original Recipe was stolen or accidentally exposed through a data breach. Very literally, their industry secret is now exposed for the world to see. The loss or exposure of your business ideas, marketing campaigns or expansion plans might render these ideas useless or ineffective.

Monetary

Recently, Alastair MacGibbon, former director of the AFP’s High Tech Crime Center revealed the true cost of cybercrime. Directly, the cost to the Australian economy is $1.8 billion. It’s also estimated that a  further $2.5 billion is spent in rectification. From bolstering security and recouping from loss of productivity and reputation.

How to Combat Cybercrime

Tackling this epidemic is now an activity and responsibility that cannot be relegated to the IT dept. and software alone. It must be the responsibility of every member of staff. Senior management must be vigilant in ensuring security practises and standards are updated and refined constantly. Complacency results in risk. We’ve collected the top-5 most effective ways your business can combat cybercrime and stay ahead of the malicious wave.

Education and Awareness

One of the easiest cybersecurity countermeasures is also one of the most effective, and an instant win!

Your staff are without a doubt your biggest security risk. No matter the cost of the security system businesses employ within their environments, the human element is the only one that cannot be controlled or monitored by traditional means.

Training should start at the top of the organisation, working down. This enforces the importance of training your staff on how to:

  • Detect suspicious applications running, popups, warning messages, etc.
  • Flag suspicious emails (emails with attachments, sender unknown, hyperlinks and unusual requests)
  • Be vigilant when browsing websites
  • Stop and think before clicking on links or ads
  • Ensure websites are trustworthy before entering credentials
  • Limit activities when using public insecure Wi-Fi networks or use a VPN

By educating staff on what to look for, you directly increase the company’s ability to recognise, categorise and block cybercrime early and in many cases prevent cybercrime. This education will not only help the company’s cyber hygiene but will help the employee keep their own personal data secure.

Qbt Consulting recommends the use of our Cerberus: Awareness and Security training program that does exactly this. By initially establishing a baseline of risk, we then work with your business management to craft an effective, continuous training campaign designed to educate, inform and ensure security is kept the top of mind.

Collect and Analyse Security Logs

In a data-driven world, the insight gained from effectively examining logs is immense. In many situations looking at security logs will likely identify any abnormal action. For example, look for credential logins or application executions that occurred during non-business hours. Not only can collecting security logs help detect cybercrime activities, but they also become hugely important when dealing with digital forensics to determine root cause analysis and help with future prevention measures.

Always Keep Systems and Applications Updated

Sometimes making things a little more difficult for the bad guys is all that’s needed. By confirming your applications, operating systems and firmware are constantly up to date and patched, you can drastically reduce the success of any hackers attempting access. This is not a fool-proof method, however, it does drastically reduce your risk profile.

Review and Scrutinise Password Policy

When setting the business password policy, enforce a strong, unique requirement. The average age of a password today is years. The platforms that require them don’t do a great job alerting you to how old your password is, how weak it is and when is a good time to change it.

If you have multiple accounts, consider using a password management software to store and manage them for you. I myself use one for all my online dealings. I have to remember one password to get into the platform, which is changed every 30 days, and the password manager does the rest.

Learn more about Passwords, Passphrases and Passcodes

Be Unpredictable

It’s crucial to be deceptive, be unpredictable. Most organizations look to automation to help assist in their cybersecurity defences, but in many cases, this simply means predictability. Scans are run at the same time every week, patches take place once per month, assessments once per quarter or per year.

Companies that are predictable are vulnerable. Randomize your maintenance activity. This will increase your capacity to detect active cyber attacks and breaches.

These best practices and tips will help companies reduce the dwell time of cyber breaches as it makes it difficult for hackers and cybercriminals to remain hidden and increases the likeness of detecting active cyber attacks. It also raises awareness in the organisation and engages employees in becoming an important role in detecting suspicious activities.

Author: Qbt Audit