Brand Protection
9 mins

What to do when your business falls victim to cybercrime

What to do when your business falls victim to cybercrime

Table of Contents:

    When it comes to cybercrime, it’s easy to believe that the only thing to be concerned about is the theft of your personal or financial data. However, it may not be that straightforward, there are a lot more things to worry about than simply money. 

    Data breaches and cyber-attacks may happen to any company. Your data, key papers, or client information may have been compromised, regardless of your company’s size. Regaining control of your organization may be tough as new challenges to cybercrime emerge every year.

    In this article, we’ll look at how cybercriminals can affect a brand’s reputation causing a loss of revenue, and what to do if your business falls victim to cybercrime. 

    Scope of the problem

    Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) may put off dealing with cybersecurity until they have a larger budget. Regrettably, cybercriminals are more likely to direct their attention on companies like these when they commit crimes online. Small firms are the target of 43 percent of cyberattacks.

    Criminals are well aware that larger enterprises have more robust security measures in place, while smaller companies usually fail to take adequate precautions to protect themselves. SMB owners who haven’t given cybersecurity any thought should do so now.

    A report by business insurance company Hiscox estimates that companies suffered $1.8 billion in losses as a result of cybercrime in 2019. Businesses of all sizes, especially those with a significant internet presence, are frequently targeted by cybercriminals. A great deal of damage was done to businesses involved in energy production and financial services, as well as manufacturing and technology.

    According to Cybersecurity Ventures, worldwide cybercrime expenditures could soar to $10.5 trillion USD annually by 2025, growing at a compound annual rate of 15%.

    Impact of cybercrime on brands

    Here are a few examples of how cybercrime is affecting businesses today.

    1. Increasing prices

    Companies who wish to defend themselves against internet thieves must whip out their wallets. 

    Expenses may include, but are not limited to:

    • Expertise and technology in cyber security.
    • Notifying anybody who may have been affected by the breach.
    • Premiums for insurance.
    • Public relations support.

    Another significant financial strain can be caused by ransomware, which prevents employees from using IT systems until the organization pays the perpetrator. 6 percent of corporations paid ransoms in 2019, resulting in $381 million in damages, according to Hiscox insurance. Legal counsel and other expertise may also be required if a company wants to remain in compliance with cybersecurity laws and rules. Civil actions against the corporation might cost them even more money in attorney fees and damages in the event that they are the target of an assault and customers’ data is exposed.

    147 million consumers were affected by a 2017 data breach at Equifax, one of the main three credit reporting agencies. The corporation agreed to pay up to $425 million in damages to those who had been harmed as a result of the ensuing legal battles it faced.

    2. Disruption of operations

    Additionally, cyberattacks can have indirect consequences, such as the risk of a severe stoppage in operations, which can result in revenue loss.

    It is possible for hackers to stifle the regular operations of a business by infecting computer systems with malware that deletes important data or by injecting malicious code into a server that prevents users from accessing your website.

    “Hacktivists”, who break into the computer networks of federal agencies or multinational businesses to draw attention to a perceived injustice or increase transparency, tend to disrupt “business as usual” with their tactics.

    In 2010, for example, WikiLeaks supporters responded against Mastercard and Visa by launching assaults that brought down their websites for a short period of time.

    3. Modifications to common business procedures

    More than just finances are at stake when a company’s data is compromised by a hacker. To avoid exposing confidential information, businesses must reevaluate how they acquire and handle personal information of their customers. Credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other sensitive information are no longer being stored by many companies.

    In fact, many companies have shut down their online storefronts because they are worried about not being able to keep them safe from hackers. As a result, customers are increasingly concerned about how businesses address security concerns, and they are more inclined to support those businesses that are open and honest about the measures they have put in place.

    4. Damage to a brand’s reputation

    Even while it’s difficult to assess the entire extent of the damage, organizations that are the target of major cyberattacks may see a considerable drop in their brand equity. Leaving sensitive information in the hands of a corporation whose IT infrastructure has been breached at least once may make customers and even suppliers feel less safe.

    Despite a 2013 data breach affecting the credit card information of more than 40 million consumers, Target (TGT) was forced to pay $18.5 million in settlement costs because of its reputation.

    In 2014, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) was hit with a similar black eye when fraudsters accessed the banking information of its clients. More than 76 million home accounts and seven million small business accounts were breached by hackers. Additionally, research shows that publicly listed corporations may experience a short-term decline in market value in addition to a reduction in institutional trust.

    According to security experts Comparitech, there were 40 data breaches at 34 publicly traded organizations in 2021. According to the research, the share prices of affected firms dropped an average of 3.5% following an attack and underperformed the Nasdaq by 3.5%.

    5. Lost revenue

    Cyberattacks can result in a dramatic loss in income as consumers shift elsewhere to protect themselves from cybercriminals. Extortion attempts by cybercriminals can also result in financial losses for businesses.

    When Sony Pictures was preparing to film “The Interview” in 2014, a comedy depicting an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was targeted by cyber terrorists. Its employees’ e-mails, as well as their performance assessments, had been stolen by hackers.

    North Korea has denied responsibility for the assault, although it is widely suspected that it was orchestrated by the country. As a direct consequence of this, Sony Pictures decided to release the movie only online rather than in most theaters, a decision that, according to the National Association of Theater Owners, cost the company $30 million.

    6. Stolen intellectual property

    One of a company’s most important assets is generally its product designs, technology, and marketing methods. 87 percent of the value of S&P 500 firms in 2015 were intangibles, according to intellectual property adviser Ocean Tomo. 

    Cyberattacks are possible because so much of this intellectual property is kept on the cloud. Chinese counterparts have stolen intellectual property from about 30 percent of U.S. corporations in the previous decade.

    What to do if your company falls victim to cybercrime

    1. Stop the cybersecurity breach 

    After a data breach, it’s easy to purge everything, but keeping track of the evidence is critical to figuring out how and who was involved. Prior to determining whether or not servers have been hacked, the initial action should be to isolate the affected servers to prevent the infection of other servers or devices.

    A data breach can be prevented right now if you take the following steps:

    • Disconnect from the internet.
    • Disabling remote access would be the best option.
    • Maintain your firewall settings.
    • Update your system’s security by applying any available updates or patches.
    • It’s recommended that you update your passwords on a frequent basis.

    Change any passwords that have been compromised as soon as possible. Avoid using the same password across several accounts by using unique ones for each. There may be less damage if a data breach occurs in the future.

    2. Examine the security breach

    Following updates from reliable sources tasked with monitoring the situation is essential if you are a victim of a larger assault that has damaged several firms. Even if you’re the lone victim or part of a larger attack, you’ll need to figure out what happened at your own facility so that you can avoid the same thing from occurring again. Consider this:

    • Who has access to the affected servers?
    • At the time of the incident, which network connections were active?
    • What triggered the attack?

    Your firewall or email providers, antivirus software, or Intrusion Detection System (IDS) may be able to help you determine how the breach was started. If you’re having trouble tracking the breach’s origins and breadth, it could be worth your while to hire a professional cyber investigator who can help you stay safe in the future.

    • Affected parties should be identified.

    Find out whether any of your workers, customers, or third-party vendors have been impacted by the security lapse. In order to assess how serious a data breach is, find out what kind of personal information was accessed or targeted in the first place.

    • Ensure that your employees are aware of data breach procedures.

    Data breach procedures should be made clear to your staff. Following the discovery of the breach’s root cause, change and disclose your security policies to help prevent a repeat incident. Think about limiting your workers’ access to data based on their job responsibilities. – To avoid a data breach, you should also periodically teach your personnel how to prepare for one or how to avoid one altogether.

    3. What to do when there’s a data breach

    • Bring management and staff up to speed on the problem.

    Your employees need to know what happened, so be sure to communicate with them. Make it obvious to your team members that they have the authority to talk about the issue both internally and outside. While your company is recovering from a data breach, it is critical that everyone on your team is on the same page. Legal guidance may be necessary to help you choose the best manner to notify your consumers of the breach.

    • Notify your cyber insurance provider if you have one.

    The purpose of cyber insurance is to assist you in the event of a data breach or other cyber security assaults on your systems. As soon as you can, following a cyber assault, get in touch with your service provider to see if they can help. 

    • Notify customers.

    Consider setting up a hotline for consumers who have been affected by your company’s policies to get answers to their problems. Building long-term business relationships means keeping the channels of communication open with your clients.

    If you take the necessary precautions, your company will be better equipped to recover from a data breach. Conducting regular security inspections in the future will help in lessening the risk of another event.

    How to prevent your company from becoming a victim of cybercrime

    1. Maintain the security of your data and electronic gadgets.

    Ensure that your software is current. Updating your anti-virus, web browser, and operating system to the most recent versions is essential. To prevent hackers from gaining access to your data or infecting your devices with harmful software, you should run regular software updates on your devices.

    Files should be safe. Businesses can back up their important papers with a variety of methods. External hard drives, flash drives, cloud storage, and backup services are all options.

    Make sure all of your gadgets are encrypted. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones are likely to contain sensitive personal information. For certain files, think about encrypting them. Only the owner of the decryption key can decipher the scrambled information, which is why encryption is used.

    Use identification based on several factors. You can protect yourself from fraudsters by implementing two-factor authentication (also known as multifactor authentication).

    Enable multifactor authentication on any account that requires login credentials as an extra layer of protection. As part of the log-in procedure, a security code will be issued to your smartphone.

    2. Keep your wireless network safe.

    Make sure your router is protected. Cybercriminals may already know the default password for some routers, putting your network in danger. Change your router’s password to something that a hacker is unlikely to guess.

    High-security encryption should be used for any data that may be deemed sensitive. There are many different types of encryption to choose from. Find out if your router is WPA2 or WPA3-compliant. Protecting oneself in both ways is a great idea. Your network is protected from unauthorized parties by encrypting the data it sends.

    3. Smart cyber security behaviors are a must.

    Ensure that your passwords are secure. Consider the security of your passwords. At least 12 characters, including letters, numbers, and special symbols, are required for a strong password. Make sure you don’t use the same password for several accounts.

    Use a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN, or virtual private network, can help shield your computer from the dangers of the internet. A virtual private network (VPN) transforms a public internet connection into a secure private network that protects your online privacy and anonymity.

    Stay up to date. One method to be ready for emerging cyberthreats is to stay up to date on news and developments. Because cyber threats are constantly evolving, it’s a good idea to stay on top of them.

    4. Install an Impersonation Protection Software

    Businesses face cybercrime on a daily basis, leaving them exposed and sometimes feeling helpless. In the event of an emergency, businesses should be prepared with clear guidance on what to do and the necessary equipment to limit the damage.

    Red Points’ services, such as anti-impersonation, anti-piracy, and trademark protection, will be able to assist companies dealing with a broad spectrum of cybercrimes.

    With Red Points’ Impersonation Removal software, you can remove as many false accounts, applications, websites, or domains as necessary to resolve the business’s issue. How to report cyber crimes

    Take the following actions if you have any reason to believe that you have been a victim of a scam:

    1. Get in touch with your organization’s IT and security department if you have one.

    2. Contact your banking institution right away to seek a money recall.

    3. Report any abnormalities with payroll payments to your employer.

    4. Share the details of the assault with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. They will relay the information to the relevant authorities at the federal, state, local, or international levels. Get in touch with the firm that issues your credit card as well. Tell them if you are contesting illicit transactions made using your card by criminals or if you have reason to believe that your card number has been compromised.

    5. If based in the United States, you can contact your local FBI field office or report the incident online at tips.fbi.gov if you or your firm has been a victim of a network intrusion, data breach, or ransomware attack.

    6. It’s also possible that you’ll be a victim of identity theft. To understand how to reduce your identity theft risk, go to IdentityTheft.gov.

    What’s next

    In a sense, the battle against cybercrime should be everyone’s concern. Consider it a duty to do all you can to help stop criminal activity on the internet by contributing to the battle against it.

    For the vast majority of individuals, this entails taking several straightforward, commonsense precautions to protect oneself and one’s family against harm. It also entails notifying the competent authorities of any cybercrimes committed at the right time.

    Do not let the pressure of running a business entice you to put cybersecurity on the back burner. Suppose you make the online safety of your company a top priority, you will position yourself for long-term success while also reducing the number of difficulties you will experience in the future. 

    See how you can eliminate impersonation or identity fraud with Red Points’ Impersonation Protection Software.

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