What is Cybercrime and How Can it Affect Your Business?
Cybercrime is a broad term to describe any crime committed using the Internet. This can include everything from identity theft, where a criminal steals someone’s personal information to gain access to their bank accounts; to online fraud, where the criminal uses stolen credit card or Social Security numbers to make purchases; to hacking, where the criminal gains access to another person’s devices or systems and installs malware to control them.
As the Internet has developed, so have cybercriminals. They aren’t necessarily the stereotypical creepy nerds living in a dark apartment, as depicted on TV and in movies. Instead, many of these people are professional criminals who treat cyber crime like a business. These “professionals” find new ways to commit old crimes, and they work together in global criminal communities that share information, expertise, and services. Many of these communities use virtual marketplaces resembling eBay, with numerical ratings scales and qualitative reviews. This system allows criminals to spend less time checking out potential partners and more time carrying out their crimes.
One of the more recent trends in cybercrime is the targeted targeting of high-net-worth individuals, explains Christopher Scott, who leads IBM’s response to security incidents as part of its X-Force business. These gangs typically build a victim profile from public and private data—including property records, financial account information gleaned through hacking, or posted details on social media—and then rob their victims’ assets.
Cyberthieves are a significant drain on businesses that store data online, and their attacks can cost companies millions in losses and reputational damage. To combat this growing threat, companies should encrypt their data and back up files frequently to reduce the impact of an attack. They should also educate their employees on basic cybersecurity and make sure their Internet service providers are providing them with strong protections.