How to Stop the Rise of Cyber Crime? Small Actions Can Make a Big Impact
When it comes to cyber crime, many experts say the devil is in the details.
That message is echoed by organizations like International Fraud Awareness Week, and Action Fraud and Get Safe Online, who advise consumers and small businesses that small actions can make a big impact on information security and helping stop the rise of cyber crimes.
International Fraud Awareness Week, which runs November 13-19, brings together global anti-fraud professionals and communities. Action Fraud and Get Safe Online are UK-based groups providing information and resources.
The latest computer crime figures are worrisome.
- The global cost of data breaches is forecast to reach $2.1 trillion by 2019 by market analyst firm, Juniper Research. That figure represents a quadrupling of 2015 figures.
- Action Fraud reported that the U.K. is losing nearly £11 billion (almost $13.5 billion U.S.) to cyber criminals.
- A recent smallbiztrends.com story reported that nearly half of all cyber crime targets small business with less than 250 employees.
The good news is that small actions can go a long way to protect information stored on hard drives. In the workplace, use on-going training to teach employees these security procedures in and out of the office.
- Be smart with passwords: Choose a password that is at least 8-10 characters and consists of letters, numbers and special characters. Change it periodically, and use different passwords for different accounts. Consider using a password management program. In the U.K., as many as 43% say that they use the same password for multiple online accounts.
- Use firewalls: Firewalls keep track of traffic between the computer or network and the internet, and serve as a great first line of defense.
- Click with a caution: Think before clicking on any links or downloading any programs whether scanning emails at work or in a coffee shop. Watch for phony phishing messages, and never open or click on anything from someone you don’t know.
- Use security software: Keep all security software and antivirus programs updated by selecting the automatic update function on the security control panel. Always update the operating system and browser with the latest security patches when they become available.
- Lock it up: Locking laptops and other devices helps prevent theft and access to hard drives – and only takes seconds to manage.
- Encrypt data: Use encryption for sensitive files on smart phones and other mobile devices and if transferring files around the company network.
- Be safe on social media: Check privacy settings and make sure confidential information is seen only by people you know and trust.
- Back-up: Using the cloud or a mobile device, back-up information regularly especially irreplaceable files.
- Physically protect IT devices: Electronic storage devices are convenient but raise the risk of fraud and information theft. In the workplace, implement a storage device sign-out policy and stipulate secure destruction for all devices at the end of their lifetime.
- Protect obsolete technology: Securely destroy old hard drives once they are no longer needed. Partner with a reliable information destruction company that provides hard drive destruction services.
Use a comprehensive document management policy to protect confidential data from creation to disposal.