Cybercrime is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world, and many businesses are under-prepared for it. This is evident in the news wires, which continue to buzz with stories about major credit/debit card breaches at retail chain stores. Cybercrime is an umbrella term for the exploitation of information networks by criminals seeking financial gain. It covers a broad spectrum of illegal activities, ranging from financial scams to virus attacks and the misappropriation of personal and confidential information that often leads to identity theft.

To assess your cybercrime preparedness, see if you can answer the following questions:

  • Are the security settings on your computers adequate?
  • Is there a backdoor into your network?
  • Are your anti-virus and anti-malware software programs the most current version, and are they updated?
  • Do you know how to tell if your computer has been infected with malware?
  • How would your company respond if one of its servers were hacked?
  • Are the passwords your employees use strong enough?
  • Would you or your staff be tricked by a phishing message?
  • What would happen if a company laptop or smartphone were lost or stolen?
  • How would you deal with a major data theft by a former employee?
  • What steps do you and your employees take to protect your home computers?

Establishing a proactive approach to managing the risk of fraud is one of the best steps an organization can take to protect itself and its customers from this type of crime. An effective risk management program is based on a risk assessment, which identifies where fraud may occur within the organization. A risk assessment should be performed on a recurring basis, involve appropriate personnel, consider relevant fraud scenarios and determine whether adequate controls are in place to mitigate the risks.

Although you won’t be able to completely eliminate the risk of fraud, you can take proactive steps to significantly reduce your exposure. For more tips visit MySecurityAwareness.