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What Your Business Doesn’t Know About Cybercrime Will Hurt You

by on July 28, 2017
cybersecurity, cyber security, Heather-Anne MacLean

Cybercrime isn’t going away. In fact, it continues to grow. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that cybercrime will cost the world in excess of $6 trillion annually by 2021. If that number doesn’t alarm you, the fact that 43% of attacks are focused on small business, and that 60% of small businesses attacked go out of business within six months, should.

In April, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued a report entitled: Cyber Security in Canada: Practical Solutions to a Growing Problem. This extensive report provides insight on the current cyber landscape, including business costs and business losses due to cybercrime. It also provides information on the growing role of cybersecurity insurance in protecting businesses. It also offers results from their important and timely research detailing significant gaps in five key areas. (Recommendations from the report are below):

  1. Technology;
  2. Public Relations;
  3. General Awareness;
  4. Legislative Requirements; and
  5. Insurance

This report is particularly interesting for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) because of the statistics above. “All companies are targets for cyberattack, and specific solutions change daily. Yet in many companies, there is a lack of ability to recognize these breaches. Today’s attacks are about the data, not the company or person, and they are designed to be invisible.

SMEs continue to believe risk does not apply to them because they believe criminals are targeting large enterprises. While this was certainly the case for a number of years, a shift that emerged beginning in 2013. Especially relevant and noted by Symantec in 2015, was 43% of Small Businesses were the focus of spear-phishing attacks versus 35% of large businesses.

One of the most significant and famous breaches–the Target attack–occurred as a result of a small business. It was an HVAC company working with the retail giant, which consequently had week security. A part of Target’s supply chain, they were ultimately breached and most probably unaware. This meant that criminals were able to breach Target. Three years later reports in the media detail how Target has agreed to pay $18.5 million to settle claims by 47 states and the District of Columbia. This is over and above the total cost of the data breach being $202 million. And what happened to the HVAC company? It went out of business.

Consequently, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce acknowledges in its report, SMEs know they have to do more. With 98 percent of Canada’s economy comprised of SMEs, taking steps to obtain cybersecurity certification, cybersecurity insurance, and more is not something that can be postponed any longer. “For most companies, data is now their most valuable asset. Our goal is to point business in the direction of finding a common sense approach to risk management to protect those assets,” notes Scott Smith, Director, Intellectual Property & Innovation Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Recommendations

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce provides nine specific recommendations in this report that merit review and understanding to help mitigate cybercrime.

  1. Government cannot protect everything, but it does have pivotal responsibilities
  2. We need an outcome-based, systemic/cohesive approach and common model of understanding
  3. Develop a “Secure Canada” Approach
  4. Develop a National Cyber Policy Framework
  5. Adopt an Enterprise Risk Management Approach and Collaborate
  6. Increase Canadians’ Cyber Savviness
  7. Government endorsement and support for the deployment of Industry Certification
  8. Incentivize Security Innovations
  9. Both government and industry need to take a proactive approach to the inevitability of Quantum and develop a Quantum-ready Strategy.

For more information download Cyber Security in Canada: Practical Solutions to a Growing Problem.

This post previously appeared on the CyberNB Blog.

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