It is something that we often hear about but we can feel just happens to someone else; or just to glamorous, global businesses which are a million miles away from our own everyday lives.
But the reality is that there are two types of people in this world; people who have lost data and people who will lose data, through cyber-attacks.
In this modern cyber-jungle we live in, a hidden scammer or a hacker looking in on your network, is highly likely to target you, your family and/or your business, or someone you know or work with, compromising your own data by association.
This could be through your mobile, your children’s computer games, via laptops, emails, social media channels, dating sites or via pop-up ads or links to fake, copycat websites.
The more unsecured devices you have around the home - known as the Internet of Things (IoT) - from your virtual personal assistant to your CCTV, the more open you are to attack.
We obviously don’t want to become a victim of cyber-crime.
However, as technology gets more advanced and encroaches on almost every aspect of our lives, from work to play, the likelihood of us being duped increases.
As the Covid19 global recession looms large, we are highly likely to have some sort of data breach, with its severity depending on how robust our whole security network is.
While many of the more astute companies have cyber insurance, even they may not realise that they won’t be covered unless they have strict stipulations about what they do, or don’t have, in terms of technology back ups.
For instance, what would happen if you walked into your office one Monday morning to discover all the screens are down, you are locked out from your own passwords and you do not know how to get your computer system up and running again?
In order to protect yourself from that horrible sinking feeling as watching your precious business assets getting sucked away from you before your eyes and into the control of an unknown hacker -who could be anyone, anywhere - you will need to have in place a tried-and-tested Disaster Recovery Plan in place to protect your business and personnel.
This could work in the same way as a Fire Escape Plan would. In a Fire Drill, you protect everyone in your home and/or business by fitting alarms and fire extinguishers and knowing where to direct all your staff to know they are safe from the flames and to make sure that they know how to get to safety in the fastest and most efficient way.
A Disaster Recovery Plan works in a similar way for cyber-security defences.
If a cyber-criminal switched off your whole company, how long would it take to get it up and running again?
Questions you need to ask yourself include:
Are your Sales and Production areas separate?
Is all your equipment up to spec?
Suppliers in particular, need to have the confidence that you won’t go under if you suffer a cyber-attack because they could well be dragged down with you.
If Sales and Production are not separate, if one area of your business goes down, they all go down.
For example, if you use a metal lathe in a production line, with access to the internet on the main network, with an old version of Windows, with no patches, your whole system is vulnerable to an attack.
Or if you have a VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol – you may need to get a telecoms expert to make sure that someone doesn’t call in using an old, unchanged password.
By taking a number of simple but important steps, you will be far more prepared to deal with cyber-crime and to fend it off.
Detective Constable Gareth Jordan has been a police officer for 13 years and prior to that, was employed in the IT and Pre-Press and Print sector.
Gareth is now based at Police HQ in Carmarthen and has been involved in investigating all forms of crime that have a cyber-element to them.
He has a wealth of knowledge regarding Cyber Security and continues to expand this (delete knowledge) by being involved in the day-to-day investigation of cyber-based crimes.
Gareth knows about the latest cyber scams and can explain how they are carried out – and more importantly – how you can avoid falling foul of them.