Everyone needs to pay a certain amount of attention to their cybersecurity. You don’t have to be a business or a large organization, as private individuals and small groups are hacked all the time. Like it or not, cybersecurity is a part of 21st-century life. Unless we decide to stop using computers so much, that situation isn’t going to change anytime soon. If there is one thing you should take away from this article, it is this point: A business has much more to protect than a private individual, and that is what makes businesses more likely to be targeted. Therefore, running a weak business computer security system might be compared to diving with sharks…in a suit made of meat. Here are just a few of the harmful consequences that could result.
1. You Might Get Robbed
Most cyber-criminals are after one thing: Money. They don’t go to all that trouble for their health or your annoyance…they want to get something from you, and that usually means robbery. Needless to say, these kinds of robberies often target entire accounts, allowing the intruder to get large quantities of cash. Cryptocurrencies can also be vulnerable, as we can see from this massive scam in 2017. In that case, the attackers got away with up to 70 million dollars!
Hacking your bank account is the most direct way in which hackers could get your funds. Thankfully, most financial institutions do a good job of securing their business networks. In most cases, hackers will have to resort to “social engineering” methods. However, there are other ways in which people might be robbed. For instance, if you make an online purchase, your passwords and such might end up being stored in protected memory. These things are only stored on a temporary basis, but a clever attacker might still be able to get them.
2. Your Reputation Could Be Ruined
Customer confidence is of the utmost importance in any business. If your customers are trusting you with confidential data, this importance is increased tenfold. When people give you their confidential data (like credit card numbers, home addresses, etc.) they are trusting that you will keep it safe. Regardless of the reasons, no one is going to forgive you if you fail to protect that sensitive information.
There are plenty of companies that have gone under as a result of a data breach. Others have been reduced to shadows of their former glory, maintaining only enough popularity to stay in business. For example, we might mention a company called AMCA (American Medical Collections Agency). This was a collections agency that specialized in the collection of medical bills. In 2018, they suffered a hack that was bad enough to put them out of business. That customer data (from roughly 20 million people) was stolen and later offered for sale on the dark web. Needless to say, no one is going to trust AMCA after that, which is why they filed for bankruptcy only one year later.
3. Your Productivity Could Suffer
Not all cyber-attackers are quite as brazen as the people who hacked AMCA. In fact, some of them are smart enough to keep themselves under the radar. One of the ways that they keep under the radar is the use of less obtrusive methods. When someone steals your money or absconds with tons of personal data and tries to sell it…signs are left behind. Even if the attacker is not caught, the crime will be noticed when its effects are noticed.
Some forms of cyber attack are not so obvious. For instance, we might mention botnets and crypto-jacking (which are often used together). A botnet is a network of hijacked machines whose resources are being appropriated for illicit purposes. In many cases, people will not even know that their device is part of a botnet.
By hijacking your computing resources (RAM, etc.), they can boost their own operations. These might include cryptocurrency mining, the cracking of complex passwords, or any number of other things. Unfortunately, that means a lot fewer resources for you to use. Even if the attacker isn’t trying to hack you (but merely jack your resources), you will see a noticeable reduction in network/device speed. That will surely equal a loss in productivity for your business.
4. You Could Get Slapped With Some Huge Fines
Last but not least, we must consider the regulatory factor. If you fail to protect the sensitive data of others, you could end up being legally liable for that failure. There are regulations that govern this sort of thing and the fines for breaking them can be pretty steep. The good news is that the prosecution will have to prove some sort of negligence on your part. If you cannot be found to have made any real mistakes in the cybersecurity department, you might be able to avoid significant fines. Still, many people are not that lucky.
For a recent example, we might look at what happened to the owners of Booking.com. Someone managed to compromise about 40 employee accounts, which then allowed them to gain access to the confidential information of customers. By the time all was said and done, the company was hit with about $560,000 in fines. The company was based in the Netherlands, and Dutch law says that data breaches must be reported within 72 hours. Booking.com failed to do so and they paid a heavy price.
These are just some of the worst things that can result from a serious data breach. You really don’t want to mess around with these dangers, as any of them can potentially kill your business. If the hackers don’t take advantage of your negligence, rest assured that government regulators will! Good computer IT services can help to prevent these issues, which might lead you to ask: “Where are the best IT services near me?” To find out, you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.