The internet creates numerous opportunities for individuals and businesses alike, but it also produces unique perils. For businesses, the biggest danger is the possible threat from cybercrime, or criminal hackers intruding on IT systems to steal information. Trying to find office security mistakes, these intruders target several different kinds of information. Discover the most common reasons that cyber criminals try to hack your system below.
Like most other forms of crime, cybercrime is ultimately about financial gain. The most direct route is through the theft of account information like stored credit card numbers, bank account and routing numbers, and other financial information. While credit card companies and banks keep a watchful eye out for abnormal and potentially fraudulent charges against their account holders, the damage is often done before the security measures can fully engage.
That means it can take a significant amount of time before the customer can receive reimbursement. If customers find out that your business is the source of the leak, they will likely be upset at your operation. They are not going to care about your network service issues, they are just going to want their money back.
Beyond the rather straightforward crime of stealing financial information, cyber criminals are also on the lookout for just plain personal information. Useful data of this type includes anything from payroll and employee ID information to applications and account profiles to medical forms.
This information is itself almost as valuable as a credit card number or bank account. As the world becomes increasingly digitized, a few numbers can enable a savvy thief to apply for loans or other credit instruments using the financial history of someone else.
Identity theft doesn’t end with the cyber criminal’s own personal use, though. Many cyber criminals operate in larger underground networks, which include shadowy worlds of dark webs and hacked accounts. The business data stolen from your archives could end up on a hacker forum somewhere, available for criminals the world over to use in committing various crimes.
Many victims of cybercrime are astounded by how far their information travels, leading to fraudulent accounts all over the world. Even once the victims’ accounts have recovered from the initial attack, they will still have to worry about the possibility of future abuse.
In some cases, cyber criminals work for an even higher agenda. These hackers are engaged in corporate espionage. Sometimes their motives are ideological, taking down companies whose actions they question. Sometimes they act for financial gain, in the employ of less scrupulous competitors. Other times, they just do it for the laughs. This is one reasoning for cyber crime that you may not hear at all those business seminars on the topic.
Who Are These Cyber Criminals?
The simple answer is that there is no way of knowing who cyber criminals are. However, most cyber crimes are committed by individual hackers or small hacker groups. Despite this, there are also organized crime groups that capitalize on digital vulnerabilities. There are even global cyber criminal communities that never have to worry about online reputation management. These groups share hacking strategies and tools. They also sometimes team up to launch massive coordinated attacks. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to confirm the identities of some of the worst cyber criminals around. But hopefully, the rise in cyber crime will make identifying hackers a top priority.
In any case, these hackers are among the most dire threats a company faces. They are actively destructive and seeking to do as much damage as possible. Whether they pass your secrets to other companies, dump them on the internet, or just delete them, the damage that hackers do can be immense.
Cybercrime is a fact of life in the modern business environment, and ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Instead, get the facts and make informed decisions to protect your business.
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