Friday, 1 March 2013

Could you fight the cyber attackers?

Any company using computers is vulnerable to a cyber attack and must take vital steps to protect themselves - that's the message from our senior partner, Graham Davies.

"It's not just the major multi-national companies who are likely to be targets for online attackers. Every small and medium-sized company with an online presence could also be vulnerable to online threats, and it's important for business owners to make their systems as safe as possible."

He said the most common risk was a third party attack which could cause damage to the company website, causing technology to fail and interrupting the day-to-day running of the business.

"You could also lose personal or business information if the cyber attack accesses vital customer details, so it really does make sense to prepare for the worst."

Malicious software is often used to hijack individual computers and other equipment, or to release a virus, but an attack could also come from an employee who has inside access to the company's IT systems. If an attack does happen, there are two laws that may apply - the Computer Misuse Act 1990, and the Data Protection Act 1998.

"But of course the most difficult thing is that whoever carried out the cyber attack must first be tracked down and this is almost impossible. So your company should take effective measures now to both prevent a cyber attack happening and to minimise the damage one would cause if it ever happened," said Graham.

"Look at the risks to your system and ask how well information is being processed and managed, and who or what could compromise your online performance. And if you take on a new employee, check them out thoroughly before you give them access to sensitive information.

"You should also regularly review your IT policies and remind any staff using laptops or other devices at home or away from the office that they should only use secure WiFi networks when they transmit or receive confidential files.

"Don't ignore the risks as a cyber attack is a real possibility and it could threaten your entire business if you leave yourself in a vulnerable position."