How may cybercrime affect your business ?

Cybercrime refers to criminal activities that are carried out using computer systems and the internet. These crimes can include hacking, identity theft, online fraud, cyberbullying, phishing, malware attacks, and online harassment, as well as human trafficking, child pornography, terrorism, damage to human rights, and organized crime on the dark web. Cybercrime is a growing concern as more and more of our personal and financial information is stored on the internet, making it easier for cyber criminals to steal and exploit sensitive data. Cybercrime can be committed by individuals, organized criminal groups, and even nation-states, and it can cause serious issues such as financial loss and reputational damage.

The United States Department of Justice recognizes three categories of cybercrime:

1 Criminal activity where the device is the target itself, for example, in case of the infection of a computer with malware

2 Criminal activity where the computer is used as a weapon to commit crimes, for example, to send emails with phishing links

3 Criminal activity where the computer is used as an acc

Principal cybercrime categories

Being aware of them is the first step toward protection

In a phishing scenario, the cyber criminal tries to get privileged access to personal or sensitive information, by impersonating an organization or individual. Users can be tricked into clicking a link that will download malware, or be directed to a fake website to input confidential information. Afterward, the criminal can monetize these login credentials, passwords, and bank details.

In the cyber context, criminals access, steal, or expose classified, sensitive data or intellectual property in order to gain an economic, political, or competitive advantage over a company or a government. This form of cyber attack can affect political elections and international events, and make companies succeed or fail.

Data breach is an umbrella term for security issues in which malicious insiders or external attackers attempt to copy, transmit, view, or access confidential or sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, bank account details, protected health information, personally identifiable information, trade secrets, or intellectual property.

Cybersquatting is an act in which cyber criminals register, sell, or use a domain name resembling those of legitimate businesses with the intent of profiting from their trademark, for example, by buying up domain names only to sell them to those businesses for an additional profit.

The victim of ransomware may inadvertently have downloaded the malware by clicking on infected links or attachments in emails, clicking on compromised pop-up ads, or visiting malicious websites on the Internet. Once downloaded, the malware can infect the user’s device, and block the access of authorized users to the device or data stored. The cybercriminals then demand a ransom from the victim to regain control of the data.

A DDOS attack can be imagined as an unexpected traffic jam. Cybercriminals utilize multiple compromised computer systems simultaneously to overwhelm the infrastructure of the target, in order to cause servers to shut down and disrupt normal usage of their operating system and Internet service. As this service-down time can cause great financial loss, the criminals request a fee to stop this disruption.

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Frequent cases of cybercrime in a business context

Organizations are the biggest targets to cybercriminals

Fake supplier fraud is a crime in which a business falls victim to a scammer posing as a legitimate supplier. The scammer tries to convince the business to pay for goods or services that are never delivered. One common tactic is to create fake websites or email addresses that mimic those of real suppliers. Additionally, they may also use fake invoices, purchase orders, or other documents to make their scam seem more legitimate.

A fake bank advisor scam is a crime in which a scammer poses as a bank advisor and attempts to trick a business into divulging sensitive information or making unauthorized transactions. One common tactic is to claim that there has been suspicious activity on the business’s account and that urgent action is needed to prevent security issues. The scammer may then ask the business to provide sensitive information such as bank account numbers, passwords, or personal identification numbers (PINs) under the guise of “verifying” the account. Once they have this information, the cybercriminal can use it to access the account and make unauthorized transactions. Another tactic is to offer an investment opportunity that promises high returns but requires an initial payment. The scammer may claim to be a trusted advisor at the bank and use convincing language and documentation to persuade the business to invest.

Fake CEO/president fraud is a crime in which a scammer poses as a high-level executive and convinces an employee to make a fraudulent payment or transfer of funds. This type of fraud often targets businesses that use wire transfers to conduct transactions. The scam typically begins with an email or phone call from someone posing as the company’s executive to an employee. The cybercriminal tries to convince the employee to make a payment or transfer, such as claiming that it’s necessary to complete an urgent deal or to pay an unexpected bill. They may use social engineering techniques to gain the employee’s trust and convince them that the request is legitimate. The transfer may be for a large amount of money, and the employee may be told to keep the transaction confidential to avoid disrupting ongoing negotiations. Unfortunately, the funds are often difficult or impossible to recover once the transfer is made.

Risky consequences of cybercrime to your business

Identify your risks to adapt the risk management

Cyber attacks can cause significant disruption to business operations, particularly if critical systems or data are compromised. This can lead to downtime, lost productivity, and damage to the business’s bottom line. It can be particularly damaging for businesses that rely heavily on technology or online service systems.

One of the most immediate and tangible risks of cybercrime is financial loss. This can result from ransom demands, loss of revenue due to system downtime, theft of funds, or valuable business data.

A cyberattack can cause significant harm to a company’s reputation, particularly if sensitive customer or employee data is compromised. This can lead to a loss of trust among customers, partners, and investors, and could even result in legal issues.

Cybercriminals may target businesses to steal valuable intellectual property, such as trade secrets, patents, and designs. This can result in a loss of competitive advantage and market share.

Guidelines for cybercrime prevention for your business

  • Educate your employees

  • Apply reliable security software solutions

  • Choose a password management solution to help generate and remember strong passwords

  • Regularly update software and operating systems

  • Back up data regularly to reduce the damage in case of cyber attacks

  • Use Bank Account Verification solutions

How does cybercrime facilitate other crimes?

Cybercrime can facilitate other crimes by providing a means of communication, funding, and coordination, and lead to much more serious issues. This is why It is essential to have robust cybersecurity measures and effective law enforcement to prevent and combat these crimes effectively.

Here are the most common motivations behind cyberattacks

Cybercriminals often use the internet to launder money obtained through illegal activities (such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, or terrorism financing) across borders quickly and anonymously, making it challenging to trace the source of the money. They can use various systems such as cryptocurrency and online auctions to transfer illicit funds and hide their origins.

Cybercriminals can use the internet to stalk and harass individuals, which can have severe consequences for the victim’s mental health and well-being.

Cybercrime can provide funding and communication channels for terrorist groups. Terrorists can use the internet to recruit members, plan attacks, and raise funds from sympathizers. Cybercriminals can use the internet to spread propaganda and radicalize individuals, as well as use cyber-attacks to disrupt essential services such as power grids and transportation systems, causing widespread chaos, fear, and security issues.

Cybercrime can facilitate drug trafficking by providing communication channels and payment methods for drug dealers. They can use the internet to coordinate drug trafficking operations, advertise their products, and receive payments from buyers.

Cybercrime can facilitate human trafficking by providing communication channels for traffickers to coordinate their activities, advertise their services, and receive payments. Cybercriminals can also use the internet to gather personal information about potential victims.

How international organizations fight cybercrime

International organizations play an important role in fighting cybercrime by developing policies, promoting best practices, working on law enforcement systems, as well as providing technical assistance and capacity building to member states.

Here are some key players in combatting cybercrime :

The United Nations has several bodies that deal with cybercrime, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, and the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security. These bodies work to promote international cooperation, and law enforcement, and provide technical assistance.

Interpol is an international police organization that coordinates law enforcement efforts across national borders. It has a Cybercrime Directorate that works to combat cybercrime by providing training, support, and intelligence sharing to member states.

Europol is the European Union’s law enforcement agency, which has a European Cybercrime Centre that helps member states fight cybercrime through operational support, intelligence gathering, and strategic analysis.

The Council of Europe has developed the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, which is an international treaty that provides a framework for cooperation among member states in investigating and prosecuting cybercrime.

The FATF is an intergovernmental organization that develops policies and standards to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. It also provides guidance on how to prevent and detect cybercrime-related financial activities.

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