Cybercrime - Economic Heist of the Century?
Small businesses face a new wave of cyberthreats
The global pandemic has changed the way we live and work. Businesses around the world have adapted and become digital-first at an unprecedented pace. While this move to digital has allowed businesses to continue operating, it's also exposed them to a new generation of vulnerabilities. This exposure, and an ever increasing amount of cyberthreats, has a significant drag on the world’s economy.
Current and escalating costs of cybercrime
Cyberattacks are a growing threat for small businesses and a negative impact on the U.S. economy. The cost of cybercrimes reached $2.7 billion in 2020 alone. Unlike large enterprises, most small businesses are not staffed to address the security needed to keep their networks and devices secure. This leaves them more vulnerable to attacks and often ill-prepared to address an attack after it occurs.
Cybercrime is predicted to impact the world’s economy by a staggering $6 trillion in 2021. If measured as a country, cybercrime would be the 3rd largest economy on earth, behind only the U.S. and China. Cybersecurity Ventures expects global cybercrime costs to grow by 15% per year over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. That would make the cost of cybercrime the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history.
Factors behind the costs
Cybercrime costs include many factors, including loss of data, theft of intellectual property, and lost opportunities. Cybercrime has become so prevalent and so lucrative, it now has an entire underground economy that supports it. The sellers benefit from a fast and discrete payout. The buyers benefit from the availability of out-of-the-box malicious operations that they can implement right away. The products bought and sold are both information commodities and resources. Cybercriminals evaluate the risk and rewards of their ventures to maximize their own gains, negatively impacting the world’s economy with the business losses they trigger.
Don’t ignore the security of your smart devices
Cybercrime doesn’t just strike the usual suspects like servers and computers. More sophisticated attacks are now taking dead aim on smart devices like your TV or security system. Even your baby monitors may not be safe. A vulnerability was reported in April that exposes millions of web camera and baby monitor feeds, allowing cyberattackers to tap into the audio and video of these devices.
Even more concerning are attacks that can migrate from your smart home devices to your more sophisticated devices, like your phone, home PC, or work laptop. If the right security measures aren’t in place, once on your network, the cyberattacker can spread the attack further to any devices that share the network connection of your WiFi.
So what’s going on?
COVID-19 led to a sudden and unexpected home-based workforce at a level of participation like nothing that had ever been seen previously. When employees shifted to working at home, this created new challenges for corporate IT administrators to try and secure those workers and their company-issued devices.
VPNs provide some protection, but don’t stop employees from clicking on phishing links or downloading malware. And most VPNs can be temporarily disabled by the employee. Whether they admit it or not, many employees use their work laptop to browse the internet on personal time, with the VPN disabled. That opens up security challenges on the homefront that would otherwise be blocked by network policies in the office. A nightmare for IT and a potential goldmine for cybercriminals.
For small businesses, the shift to work at home meant that any office-based cybersecurity protections were lost once the workers signed in from their home WiFi networks. Further impacting the home and business front, the number of connected smart devices is predicted to go from 31 billion in 2020 to over 75 billion by 2025. Each and every one of those devices in the home or office that isn’t protected is highly vulnerable. Think of them as unlocked doors that make it easy for a cyberattacker to gain a foothold into your network, and from there, into your digital life.
Protecting your home or business
Protecting your home or business begins by following best practices for maintaining a secure digital environment. The best practices include the usual measures:
Deploying reliable antivirus software
Using strong passwords and multi-factor sign-ins
Making sure only authorized devices are being used on the network
Learning how to recognize and avoid phishing emails
Creating secure backups
Another extremely important measure is prevention — preventing the attack from reaching your network and preventing you from visiting risky sites. You shouldn’t have to worry that a mistake or accident by anyone in your business can introduce malware, ransomware, or other cyberthreats that disrupt your operations. Your smart devices should also be fully protected and not a weak link in your security.
Thwart the activities of cybercriminals by protecting your WiFi network with powerful, advanced, and automated 360-degree cybersecurity. Okyo Garde by Palo Alto Networks can protect your WiFi network from cyberattacks, including malware and phishing. Okyo Garde is built on industry-leading threat intelligence technology by Palo Alto networks that is trusted by 96% of Fortune 100 companies for their enterprise cybersecurity. To learn more about how Okyo Garde can help protect your home or business from cyberthreats, visit Okyo.
Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information to help keep you protected. Our products may not secure you against every type of cyberthreat, crime, or fraud. Our goal is to increase awareness and raise attention to cyber safety. If you choose to use Okyo Garde, please review the complete terms during purchase and setup.