Is Your Company at Risk to Cybercrime?

Cybercrime can literally be launched from any place on the globe. Unauthorized entries into corporate servers and networks can result in fraud, the theft of proprietary information, the misappropriation of company funds, as well as highly destructive and costly sabotage.

There are generally three categories of those who illicitly seek to penetrate corporate computer systems.

One group, which has grown significantly, is motivated by political or philosophical beliefs. They have vendettas against certain corporations or industries. You’ve seen groups such as these staging protests at national and international economic summits. Taking their beliefs to an extreme justifies their efforts to sabotage networks and data communications.

Another group of hackers, sometimes referred to as “script kiddies”,  are predominantly driven by mischief. Hacking into servers and websites, and then defacing them, is in essence cyber-vandalism. To many, it has become a game of matching wits – theirs against corporate or government IT experts who are entrusted with protecting networks.

A third category of attackers is driven by greed, and in certain respects can be the most dangerous form of hacker. In many cases, they are highly sophisticated, well financed and have successfully stolen classified data from government, organizational and corporate websites and networks. In fact, there are international crime organizations specializing in cybercrime as well as solo “cyber guns-for-hire” who will attempt to penetrate a corporation’s network for the right price.

With the downturn in the economy, company employees have become another area of risk. One investigation involved a company executive who became vindictive as he witnessed the value of his stock options plummet. As a personal vendetta directed at senior management, he accessed highly confidential files, including customer lists and marketing plans, and sent them to a competitor.

Experts fear that for every cyber related fraud, theft and embezzlement that is uncovered, there could be as many as 80-100 crimes that go completely undetected.

Assessing Your Risk

Here’s a basic diagnostic self-evaluation that can help you evaluate just how vulnerable your server, network, proprietary data and internal communications may be:

  • Do you, at least once per month, verify that your data is actually being backed up the way you think it is?
  • Are passwords used by your employees a minimum number of characters and numbers (or are they relatively easy to crack because they consist of nicknames, birthdays, etc.)?
  • Are employees automatically required to change their passwords at least three times per year?
  • Does your company regularly update your operating system and software packages with the most up-to-date patches?
  • In the last 12 months, have you had experts perform a penetration test where they attempt to deliberately circumvent your firewalls and hack into your servers?
  • Is all company e-mail encrypted?
  • Does your company utilize effective intrusion detection products that will help detect, identify and stop unauthorized access?
  • Have you analyzed your network architecture to identify vulnerable points of entry for viruses?
  • Is your server in a highly secured room, protected by controlled access electronics, alarms (intrusion and temperature) and video equipment? If so, are the security clearances periodically reviewed to determine whether modifications are needed?
  • Do you have the ability to uncover employees sending damaging information from your company’s e-mail systems?
  • Does your company’s disaster recovery plan incorporate storing backed up data at an off-site location and making contingency plans for employees to work elsewhere if they can’t get to company offices?
  • Are employees given orientation and training regarding protecting company networks and following established security policies?
  • Are comprehensive background investigations performed on candidates and employees who will have access to classified data?
  • Are there follow-up background investigations conducted when employees are transferred or promoted into high security positions?
  • Is there a confidential 800 number available and effectively promoted for employees to anonymously call if they suspect or know of illegal or unauthorized activity by a co-worker, vendor or contractor?

If you haven’t answered yes to at least ten of these questions, your company may well be an easy victim, and it’s probably time to take action.

Help determine your risk factor by taking this confidential assessment — only you will be able to view the results.