Cybercrime is on the increase. According to figures released by Get Safe Online, a government-backed cyber security awareness initiative, and Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, tech-savvy hackers and fraudsters accounted for losses totalling more than £1B to UK businesses in the past year. So how do we counter the keyboard criminals?

IT security firms advise that every case of attempted or successful cybercrime should be reported – a recommendation fully endorsed by The Change Organisation.

Police figures reveal each UK force recorded more than £19.5m cyber-based losses by businesses in their areas, although it’s noted this figure could be higher as many crimes go unreported. It begs the question: how can cybercrime be taken seriously and proper measures drawn-up to address it, if the full seriousness of the issue isn’t known?

Alerting the appropriate authorities to the fraudsters might not solve the issue in the short-term, but it’s an action that should be taken and should be a collective responsibility to report each and every suspected breach to ensure it’s a problem which can’t be ignored.

Sadly, no computer system is completely secure and a determined hacker is alert to any soft points of illegal entry. But before hitting the search button for extra, expensive security software, businesses should be doing more to educate staff to the perils and methods of cybercrime.

Get Safe Online advises employees to be given online fraud awareness training as many attempted fraud cases against businesses are successful due to lack of knowledge or poor security practices by their staff. Firms are also encouraged to draw-up whistle-blowing guidelines so employees know how to report security concerns – the criminal isn’t always on the outside.

Mandate fraud is an example of nefarious exterior methods which have been employed to cyber-dupe companies via phone or email. It involves fraudsters tricking employees into altering a direct debit or standing order by pretending to be a supplier. It’s reported to be an increasingly popular con-trick amongst the cyber-criminal community which can be thwarted by companies imparting a bit of security knowhow.

CEO fraud is another fraudulent trap to be aware of, so staffs beware…if you receive an email requesting a financial transaction from someone claiming to be your boss, run this by him first because all may not be what it seems.

A silver-lining in the fight against cyber crime is the figure which shows cheque, plastic card and online bank account fraud decreased by 21% in the past year. In time, this figure may decrease further if the introduction of European Union regulations are also adopted by the UK. These regulations threaten businesses with huge fines for breaches of data protection.

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