With almost a third of the world’s population now online it is not surprising that internet-related crime is on the increase, writes NFU joint agent Phil Ingleby.
According to the Office of National Statistics cyber-related losses are now the largest recorded offence in the UK, overtaking physical crime. Indeed, data is now more valuable to criminals than physical assets.
Though many businesses are gradually improving their cyber security methods, significant risks still remain in interacting with third parties. This is of course not just a problem for those household names that have hit the headlines of late. A recent report by cyber security firm Symantec claimed that 52 per cent of all ‘phishing’ attacks were against small and medium-sized businesses. Clearly south Lincolnshire is not immune to this problem with many businesses firmly in the sight of criminals. ‘Hackers’ often prey on smaller business as they tend to have lower defences, and thus, with a simple inadvertent click of a mouse, the door can be opened to the hacker’s viral software, which has the potential to bring down any business, large or small.
Other methods of attack include planting ‘key stroke’ trackers into systems, allowing criminals to trace how computer keyboards are used and giving insight into passwords and other sensitive data, or perhaps a convincing invoice drops into the inbox of a busy employee who subsequently responds and sends out sensitive data.
Developing basic good practice must be the starting point for companies to help prevent an attack, information on which can, ironically, be freely found on the internet. Despite the risks, cyberspace provides huge benefits to both businesses and individuals alike. The key is not falling into the common misconception that a cyber attack would never happen to you or that you would never fall for it.