The True Cost of Cybercrime

The True Cost of Cybercrime

Image Credit: Pixabay

There’s no doubt that money is a major motivator for cyber criminals. Online crimes occur when the return on investment is high and the associated risk is low. High financial rewards encourage cyber criminals to engage in identity theft, malware, phishing, computer tampering, and fraudulent money-making practices.

What the Figures Reveal

A recent report published by the Internet Crime Complaint Center suggests there were 288,012 complaints reported to the IC3 in 2015 alone. These complaints were related to Business Email Compromise threats and Email Account Compromise scams. The total financial loss associated with these complaints was approximately $275 million.

Other studies reveal that the cost of cybercrime to businesses has risen by nearly 23%. The Ponemon Institute carried out a study of 237 organizations in six countries including the US, Japan, UK, Germany, Brazil, and Australia. According to their study, the average annual losses to businesses worldwide exceeds $9.5 million.

Image Credit: Pixabay

High-Profile Security Breaches

Consumer-focused crimes like jobs and investment scams, unexpected prize scams, and advance-fee scams are rampant. However, the most threatening Internet crimes don’t involve specific people but rather high-value corporations and government organizations. These large scale organizations aggregate data on millions of customers, so they offer higher returns in comparison to individual consumers. The huge data breach at Target, for example, cost the company dearly. Target had to spend as much as $39.4 million to reimburse banks and credit unions for the high costs they had incurred due to the 2013 data breach. They also had to spend a few millions to upgrade their payment terminals to stop further theft. The data breach not only set them back huge sums of money but it also damaged their reputation. The security breach brought unwelcome media attention and created a drop in Target’s customer satisfaction ratings.

Target is not the only company that has been a victim of fraudulent online activity. Several other companies like eBay, Yahoo, JP Morgan Chase, Anthem, Apple, and many others were victims of data breaches. The initial costs associated with these breaches are staggeringly high. These companies undoubtedly see an impact of the data breach on customer sentiment and revenue.

Responding to Data Breaches

Although companies are implementing information management and governance practices to curtail cybercrime losses, they still have to learn how to self-detect compromises. According to data published by Trustwave’s annual security report, only 24% of organizations that suffer a data breach identify the compromise on their own. The rest either rely on a regulatory body or a third party to tell them that they’ve suffered a data breach. By the time these victim organizations are notified, hackers have already accessed the system and retrieved the information that they were after. The report also says that hackers have, on an average, 210 days to access the compromised system without anyone’s knowledge.

If you add up the losses of known data breaches, it will total up to billions of dollars. The truth, however, is that most cybercrime incidents go unreported. Some nations haven’t even made efforts to calculate the real cost of cyber crimes.

Implementing Effective Security Measures

Governments and companies shouldn’t underestimate the risks associated with cyber crimes. They need to optimize their security measures to avoid hacking disasters.

Some of the most common cyber attacks against websites include cross-site scripting vulnerabilities, information theft, and denial-of-service attacks. Cyber criminals also hack sites to use servers to send unsolicited emails. If appropriate security measures aren’t implemented, hackers could gain access to web servers and use it to install malicious software on visitors to the hacked website.

Protecting your Site from Unknown Thieves

  • Apply the necessary security updates for your operating system. Hackers who find security holes in the software are likely to use them to their advantage.
  • Avoid giving out too much information on your error messages. This prevents you from unintentionally leaking out API keys or passwords present on your server.
  • If you allow customers to upload files to your site, you must make sure these files are stored in a folder outside the Webroot.
  • Use HTTPS for the entire site. If you’ve already done so, go one step further and set up HTTPS Strict Transport Security Header. This security feature lets your website tell a browser that it should only load the site using HTTPS.
  • Deploy a vulnerability scanner to identify vulnerabilities and configuration issues that could lead to network security breaches. Vulnerability scans protect you from SQL, LDAP, and OS injection flaws, XXS flaws, and sensitive data exposure.
  • Once you’ve implemented all your preventive measures, run a penetration test to identify security weaknesses. Penetration tests will show you how resilient your system is towards malicious attacks.

Here at Siza Technologies, we recognize the fact that cyber criminals have organized their attacks. They have the resources and dedication to make real money out of online crime. We offer penetration tests and vulnerability scans to give you an accurate representation of your network’s security posture. We deploy robust and highly effective testing methodologies to assess your systems. We also record the results of our tests and verify them so we can uncover and resolve issues before they turn into full-blown data breaches.

Call us on 1.866.630.8787 or sign up for our services online.

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