How to protect your business against cyber attacks

The Lazarus Group were responsible for a series of devastating cyber-attacks against government organisations, media and financial institutions over the last decade or so. The largest companies targeted include Sony Pictures in 2014 and the Central Bank of Bangladesh in 2016 where they successfully stole $81 million. Little is known about them as they are a cybercrime group made up of unknown individuals.

Their targets show their growing sophistication and power, but they are not the only ones who are hell bent on disruption, crippling businesses and stealing their money – hacking has become very lucrative and there are bound to be more individuals and groups getting in on the act.

The UK is not immune to such attacks. Earlier this year large the large scale ‘Petya’ and ‘Wannacry’ malware attacks caused disruption to the NHS sand other large companies. Cyber-attacks are set to cost companies billions – in July it was reported that Lloyds of London said that global cyber-attacks could trigger losses of $53 billion.

Regardless of whether you run a small or large broker business if you believe you won’t be the target of such a malicious act – you’d be dead wrong. Any companies could become victims of cyber hacking. While nothing may have happened to yours yet, this is one area where you don’t fly under the radar in the hope of not being targeted. The reality is – it could happen, and you need to protect your business. Here’s how:

  1. Understand the risks: Find out how your business is most vulnerable (both internally and externally). Become knowledgeable about the different types of cyber fraud schemes and threats, e.g. phising, spoofing scams, social engineering, malware, systems hacking, etc.
  2. Create a security policy: Establish protocols to follow in the event of such an attack. Make sure that everyone knows what to do and how to follow them. Make sure your employees know how to protect your sensitive information and client’s details.
  3. Verify sources: If you aren’t sure if an email is from a reputable source pick up the phone and call the company the sender is claiming to represent. Do this regardless of whether you are dealing with your bank, vendors, clients or employees. Cyber-criminals have become very sophisticated and can make emails look very similar to the real deal.
  4. Update your software: Make sure your computer equipment has the latest anti-virus software installed.
  5. Get an incident response plan in place: If you’re attacked – there should be a plan of action. Make sure your company practices it too – just like they do with fire drills. Hackers are smart and sophisticated but if you and your employees are all educated on cyber-crime and attacks you could do much to save your business, its data and money.
  6. Protect your Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi could be an easy access point for hackers. Make sure that outsiders can’t use it and that it’s secure with the necessary passwords in place. Ensure that your passwords aren’t easy to guess and update them regularly.  
  7. Involve the experts: It won’t hurt to get a specialist firm that’s familiar with how to protect businesses against cyber-attacks in to ensure you have the best anti-virus software and security in place. Get them to also conduct a security talk with your employees so that they remain vigilant at all times.