Cybercrime is a significant problem, but small businesses may not be aware of its potential impacts, such as cyberattacks, hacking, or ransomware. The scope of the problem is better understood by comparing it to the US market, where the cybercrime industry is worth $8 trillion. If cybercrime were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest economy after the US and China. This industry affects consumers, individuals, big and small companies, public utilities, and government agencies. The costs of cybercrime include:
- Damage and destruction of data.
- Stolen money.
- Lost productivity.
- Theft of intellectual property.
- Theft of personal financial data.
When a company experiences a cyberattack, the hacker may infiltrate its system and download all its records, including customer files, email, phone system, and server. They can use this information to extract a ransom, sell it to competitors, or sell customer lists on the dark web.
Once hackers access a company’s system, they may obtain sensitive information such as customer names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and credit card numbers. They can sell this information on the dark web or use it for fraudulent activities. In some cases, they may also lock up a company’s accounts receivable, which can represent up to two months’ worth of revenue. They might then send fake invoices with updated wire transfer information to customers, resulting in the company losing a percentage of its revenue. This loss can be significant for companies operating on a small profit margin. Hackers may also use social engineering tactics to steal money by accessing a company’s account information, email, and bank accounts. In addition to financial losses, a company may experience post-attack disruption, which can cause a lack of confidence from customers, vendors, and employees. This disruption may prevent employees from receiving their payroll, vendors from getting paid, or customers from placing orders or receiving deliveries. The recovery cost may include forensic investigation, IT support, and reputational damage.
Cybercrime is a significant issue, and while you may not have experienced it, it is a widespread problem. The cybercrime industry is almost as big as the US market in terms of volume, so exploring options for preventing it is crucial. This could involve implementing cyber defense measures, obtaining cyber insurance, and adopting best practices to harden your network’s security. It is also vital to consider all nodes of your network, including servers, routers, VPNs, and even customer access points, which could be potential entry points for bad actors.