Impact Of Cybercrime On Uk’s Smes And Self-Employed

With people almost living over the Internet, criminal activities are also redirected to exploit online channels. That explains the unprecedented rise in cybercrimes across the world. These crimes are increasingly troubling businesses of all sizes and scales that cost billions of pounds in the UK alone. While the losses are huge for all companies, it is catastrophic for small businesses.

A campaign with Markel Direct uncovered the extent to which Internet crime impacts and costs small businesses. You can look at some astonishing revelations by clicking on to concede these crimes and their imprints.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the way and extent to people use the Internet. It has also transformed the use and activities of businesses over online channels. With this abrupt change, the defense against cybercrime has sunken, giving a massive opening to the criminals on a golden platter. Let us understand the impact of these misdemeanors on small businesses and self-employed people in the UK.

SMEs and self-employed are equally attacked by crimes online as public bodies and big brands like Facebook, British Airways do. The only difference is that they do not make news headlines.

The campaign found 53% of SMEs and self-employed have to brave a breach in their cyber security with 68% reporting the cost incurred to be up to £5000. The loss that these small industry players meet with due to data breaches can cost in terms of reputation, clients, and business income.

Attack through malware/viruses and phishing are the most common threats accounting for nearly 39% of the attacks. These attacks often subject businesses to legal costs and loss of business.

  • Preparedness Of Small Businesses For Cyberattacks

The campaign concluded that as many as 88% of businesses have in place at least one form of cyber security. 53% are using antivirus software while 48% are relying on the firewall for additional securing their networks.

It is debatable whether these numbers of underwhelming or extravagant. Considering the exponential rise in the frequency and intensity of cyber attacks and their gruesome impact, every company, big or small, must prepare itself to battle them.

One of the biggest reasons discovered for not investing in cybersecurity is considering it an unnecessary expense. While only 26% of the respondents concede with that notion, all of them must establish an IT security policy to safeguard against cybercrimes.

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  • Cybercrimes That Causes The Maximum Damage

The unfortunate evolution of cybercrimes has added several types of attacks to the conventional computer misuse, hacking personal, and denial-of-service attack, etc. with the highest number of cases reported and losses brought down on businesses amounting to nearly £5.9M, social media and email hacking top the list.

Closely following hacking of social media and email attacks through computer virus/malware/spyware and hacking extortion. Both these types of attacks cost businesses over 1M despite a lesser number of cases, 415 and 248 respectively.

  • Warning Signs That Can Help Small Businesses To Identify Cyber Attacks

In the light of so pervasive cyber attacks and the amount these attacks expose businesses to, self-employed and SMEs must identify the warning signs. Identifying these signs of the attack and initiating immediate response to prevent any compromise of their business. Following are some red flags businesses can be cautious about:

  • Inability to access usual applications, services, and files
  • Change of password or account blocked without your knowledge
  • Software and files have been installed/created, deleted, or altered
  • Suspicious files, programs, or popups while accessing the Internet
  • Emails sent with your intervention
  • Slower Internet due to abrupt increase in traffic
  • Preventive Measures To Keep These Attacks At Bay

As small businesses have a limited budget to invest in your cyber security, these are often soft targets for attackers. This results in SMEs and self-employed losing in large numbers every year. Here are some measures you can take to prevent these attacks and establish a secured environment for your business.

  • Secure your infrastructure by investing in firewalls, antiviruses, and detection software for malware/spyware.
  • Back data regularly
  • Use dedicated systems for financial/critical transactions and communications
  • Institute a password policy. Ask employees to change passwords regularly and choose complex ones
  • Educate employed to identify red flags and initiate a quick response
  • Invest in cyber security insurance plans

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