Cyber security is the practice of protecting networks, systems, devices and programs from unauthorised access or malicious attack. Often confused with information security, which refers to the broader practice of protecting all information assets, both physical and digital.
Cyber security can be applied to any digital aspect of a business. Most commonly, organisations’ cyber security measures centre around; network security, application security, operational security, digital information and disaster recovery.
With the financial services industry facing a record number of cyber-attacks in recent months, gaining a better understanding of cyber security and the types of threats can allow businesses to better protect themselves.
What is a Cyber Attack? - Types of Cyber Security Threats
Put simply a Cyber attack is an attack upon your businesses digital assets. The sophistication and complexity of an attack can range from a non-targeted attack by a group or an individual, all the way through to a complex, targeted nation state-backed attack.
Fortunately, most companies will not suffer from the latter as they are expensive and time-consuming for the attacker, however, there is a whole range of groups with different motivations and resources available to attack businesses.
The motivations for Cyber attack can include:
Financial: As long as there is a financial reward – criminal gangs will continue to use Cyber crime to extract it. Ransomware attacks are an excellent example of a cyber attack designed to extort money from an organisation. The vast majority of these attacks are attributed to organised crime gangs.
Reputational Damage: The reputational damage suffered during and after a cyber attack can be more debilitating to a business than the financial implications. Stealing sensitive information and publishing it online can be used to damage the reputation of a brand or individual.
Political: In some cases, the motive can be political – there have been countless examples in recent years of attacks designed to alter or change the political discourse within a country, especially during crucial times such as elections. There are also examples of political attacks being made in the private sector due to a company’s ties to social causes or political allegiances.
Hacktivism: Many cyber attacks are carried out by groups as a form of civil disobedience. DDOS attacks against platforms or company websites that disagree with a specific cause or agenda.
The Importance of Cyber Security
The threat of cyber attacks differs between different industries. Those who deal with high volumes of sensitive information or capital on a daily basis, such as hedge funds or private equity firms, face a much greater risk.
Cyber attacks can cause loss of sensitive information, great financial loss and reputational damage that could affect future business growth. With cyber attacks continually on the rise, it is vitally important that businesses, particularly those in Alternative Investment, Hedge Funds, Private Equity and other financial institutions, invest in cyber security software and create cyber security operations tailored to their business risk.
While creating a plan to protect your business against cyber security threats will not remove the risk of cyber attack altogether, it can help to decrease exposure to such risks and reduce the scale of information or financial loss in the event of a cyber attack.
Challenges of Cyber Security
Cyber attacks are becoming an increasing risk for many companies, with HMRC reporting a 73% increase in the number of Phishing attacks during 2020 and 70% of financial service organisations having experienced some form of cyber attack in the past year.
In addition, one of the largest emerging challenges of cyber security is the increased sophistication of cyber attacks. With attackers able to go undetected for longer periods by existing cyber security software or by individuals. This is fast becoming one of the greatest challenges of cyber security.
The shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic has also created fresh challenges for organisations’ remote working cyber security measures. With many companies now unable to use existing perimeter based firewall protection, and employees using personal devices, which are more likely to be running on out of date software or unprotected networks, cyber criminals can more easily exploit a company’s vulnerabilities.
With cyber attacks changing rapidly and producing new threats regularly, it can be challenging to keep your security software and processes up to date. However, taking the time to invest in appropriate security and update security policies regularly can help your company to remain protected in the event of an attack.
How To Protect Your Business From Cyber Security Attacks
Ensure that your business updates and maintains a robust cyber security policy, outlining protocols, security software use and disaster recovery processes for different scales of attack. To ensure that your business remains protected and able to get back to business as normal more efficiently in the event of a security breach.
It is also advised to take a risk-based approach to cyber security, to ensure that your organisation is protected against the most common risks and attacks associated with your industry.
Some other ways you can help to protect your company also include;
- Keeping company device software up to date
- Invest in a comprehensive Endpoint Security Solution
- Ensure you are using a robust Email Security platform – as this is one of the most common payload mechanisms for attacks
- Regularly train staff on cyber security
- Encourage the use of Multi-Factor Authentication wherever possible
- Encourage the use of VPNs for employees working remotely.
- A robust vulnerability management programme so you can understand the risks and mitigate
For companies within particularly high-risk industries, such as financial institutions, government agencies, and healthcare organisations, it is recommended to invest in a cyber security service that is tailored to the unique needs and threats facing your industry.
Cyber attacks threaten organisations across all industries, regardless of size or location. Understanding the common forms of cyber attacks, the varying scales of severity and the potential risks can help businesses to develop more robust cyber security strategies. The high risk and ever-evolving nature of cyber attacks make cyber security a discussion needed at the board level and the relevant strategies and processes are put in place to reduce this risk.
At Tribeca, we offer specialist IT Managed Services and Cyber Security solutions for organisations in the Financial and Alternative Investment sectors. We can help your business to create and enforce a cyber security plan that is tailored to the unique needs of your firm. From the installation and maintenance of cyber security software to the appointment of a Cyber Security Response Team to help your business get back on your feet quickly.
Contact our team today for more information on our Cyber Security services.