The Importance of Cyber Security for Businesses and Individuals Alike from Serenity's blog

Cyber Crime – Background

Cybercrime and cyber warfare are increasingly becoming a huge 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 country 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 are now realizing the importance of investing in cyber security 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 certain measures to not just prevent cyber crimes but in order to make cyber security an important component of their policy and operations.

Invest in Cyber Security Technologies

All businesses, whether big or small, need to invest in the latest cyber security technologies. A big business can make use of artificial intelligence and deep learning in order 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 in order to ward off potential threats. Then, regular 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 the IP addresses of users, 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 cyber security. The Blockchain Network is a unique model of storing information comprising of a network of computers. In this network, information is essentially stored and shared as blocks. Its special 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 change 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 cyber security operations in businesses. While investment in sophisticated technologies at a larger 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 cyber security threats for the entire organization.

Businesses should conduct regular training sessions with employees on the basics of cyber security. Everything cannot be handled by the IT department. Companies should rope in cyber security professionals for this purpose if the need be. One of the most basic things is reinforcing the importance of strong passwords. A large number of employees still don’t realize the threat posed by weak passwords. There are people who 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 absolutely 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 also presented with regular case studies so that they understand a potential threat if and when it comes their way.

Regular Data Backup

This is such an important basic step that is a must for minimizing the damage caused in the case of cybercrime. All data of your company needs to be backed up regularly. This is such a simple and elementary 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 important that they too undertake basic cyber security measures at their own level. Individuals are even more at risk because unlike businesses, they can’t invest in critical cyber security 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 personal data or system. Some of them just want to create chaos and confusion in the lives of people 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 people like intellectuals, journalists, and political activists who voice their opinions on issues deemed controversial. That is why for such individuals, sometimes confidentiality and anonymity become important for their own safety. Many such people make use of 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 the services of a virtual private network in order to protect their privacy and conceal their identity, thus ensuring safety from any potential cyber threats. 

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