The Federation of Small Businesses in the United Kingdom recently issued a warning to its 200,000 members regarding the cost of cybercrime. It revealed that nearly £800 million is lost every year to cyber criminals. For small businesses, this amounts to about £3,750 annually.This does not include the costs of lost jobs and community security. This warning came after a reported 41% of the above member companies reported being victimized by cybercriminals. The types of cybercrimes committed vary, but comprise mostly of financial and identity theft for financial gain.
One business that was hit just days after the issued warning is the mining groupEurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC). A laptop used for work was stolen and later used to hack into the corporations systems. The already troubled corporation was busy battling a proposed takeover by rival miner. The ENRC is among the few high-profile businesses that publicly admitted it had been hacked. The corporation stated after the incident that it was undergoing security upgrades and has extended identity protection to the employees who were affected by the hack.
ENRC’s corporate situation sheds doubt on the motives for the attack. In addition to being caught up in a takeover battle, it is also under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office. Moreover, because ENRC plays a big role in the growth of developing countries through its mining and commodity production activities, it is believed to be “exactly the sort of company that would be the prime target for an attack,” as Alex Fidgen, director at MWR InfoSecurity, stated. A report came at the end of May this year that aninfamous Chinese group working under the direction of the People’s Liberation Army has become active again.
Figden also mentioned that India and China are examples of countries that would be very interested in groups like ENRC. Cyber-snooping activities sponsored by the governments of such countries are causing developed, Western economies like Britain to become concerned. This snooping as well as other more aggressive activitiesare becoming more frequent, with the British government reporting hacking incidents affecting 93 per cent of large corporations and 76 per cent of small ones in the past year.
The Government Secure intranet (GSi) in the UK catches over 33,000 emails per month that are suspected of containing or linking to complex malware. There is a much bigger number of emails containing less sophisticated malicious software. The allocation of £650 million by the Strategic Defense and Security Review to enhance cyber security over four years was set up in time to help combat these attacks.
Cyber snooping for economic gain and other purposes has become a normal part of life, now called state-sponsored cyber espionage. Governments have been doing it to each other over the years and will continue to do so, according to Figden. He noted cases of North against South Korea and Israel against Iran as examples. Sponsored snooping has been linked to last year’sAramcospear-phishing attackthat compromised30,000 computers.
The government is concerned about the direct effect on corporation tax revenue loss.With no legal system in place to tackle cybercrime and almost no way of seeking help from the authorities, independent security measures seem to be the only measures that corporations can take against intrusions, which are wholly at the discretion of these corporate entities.