How cybercrime is hurting small businesses

Cybercrime can usually be categorised as either theft or digital vandalism. Theft can include the stealing of financial information, customer records or sensitive corporate information, while digital vandalism includes viruses, denial of service (DoS) attacks, malware, and even attacks on the character of a business through the hacking of websites or social media.

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What are the financial costs of cybercrime?

The average cost of fraud/cybercrime to a small businesses in the UK is £768 per year, with some instances of fraud costing as much as £5,000.

How can cybercrime affect a small business?

1. Loss of reputation and customer confidence

Any cyberattack that compromises a customer’s financial details can cause huge reputational damage. For some small businesses, such an attack can be so damaging that they are unable to recover and have to close.

2. ‘Fixing’ the issue

If your IT systems are compromised, you may have to stop your online operations until a resolution is achieved. This can result in a loss of revenue. You will also want to carry out a thorough investigation into how the incident occurred and how to prevent a recurrence, which can prove costly in terms of time and money.

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3. Lost capital/assets

There is a possibility that your bank account details/credit information may be stolen during a cyberbreach. This may result in the theft of account funds/fraudulent spending of credit. For small businesses, this loss of working capital and funds can be fatal.

4. Legal problems

A security breach can have legal consequences. Affected customers may decide to take legal action against you for not adequately protecting their information, potentially inflicting reputational and financial damage.

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How can I protect my organisation?

You can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime by following these steps:

– Use firewalls and antivirus software to protect your devices.
– Use access whitelists.
– Use strong passwords and change them regularly.
– Use a VPN.
– Be careful what you click/open.
– Use two-factor authentication.
– Backup your files/devices regularly.

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