Cyber Criminals Are Hunting Your Data, So Lock Them Out
Byline: By Ed Gibson
Micro businesses should be the strongest line of defence against internet security threats, says Ed Gibson, chief security adviser, Microsoft UK
THERE is much better awareness and understanding of internet crime than in the past, however too many people and organisations still hide behind the maxim of 'it'll never happen to me' .
However, in the first six months of 2005, total credit card fraud in the UK was pounds 219.4m, of which pounds 90.6m was committed online.
Yet in the physical world, although an individual house is unlikely to be burgled, few people leave home without locking the door. Because most people are generally less familiar with the online world, they often don't take the same precautions they would in the physical world. Locking the front door, wearing a seatbelt and not walking through dark alleyways at night are all second nature. Yet the equivalent basic protection is often overlooked online.
The security issues caused in the online world are the results of criminals trying to make money. Individual cyber criminals and organised criminal gangs, are now using computer systems and communications such as email to try to steal, dupe or blackmail people and companies. The IT security threat is ever-evolving and therefore computers and IT systems have to be kept up-to-date.
Small companies often assume that they are 'too little' to attract interest from criminals, but that is simply not the case. Micro businesses, defined as businesses with nine or fewer employees, and sole traders constitute around 95% of the UK's 4.3m businesses. That is the potential that cyber criminals see, not individual businesses.
A popular tactic used by cyber criminals is to 'hijack' unprotected PCs to use in attacks on other companies. That puts a duty on everyone that has a PC connected to the internet to ensure it's suitably protected. As the backbone of the UK economy, micro businesses must play their part in addressing online criminal behaviour.
Addressing internet security issues is straightforward and inexpensive. They are a mixture of specific protection and common sense. Because criminals are continually evolving the way they try to manipulate computers, software companies, such as Microsoft, have put in place regular security update processes. …