How to Recognise and Prevent Cybercrime in the Workplace

A cybercrime attack in the workplace can have far-reaching consequences for both the company and individual employees. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at how to recognise and prevent cybercrime in the workplace…

In today’s digital age, cybercrime has become a significant threat to businesses of all sizes. As technology continues to advance, so do the methods of cybercriminals, making it increasingly difficult to protect sensitive information and assets.

Cyber criminals can steal a wide range of valuable information and assets from businesses, including sensitive data, financial information, intellectual property, and trade secrets. This can include sensitive customer data, such as personal and financial details, which can be sold on the dark web to other criminals for identity theft and other fraudulent activities.

In addition to seeking advice from organised crime solicitors, we will also be sharing practical tips that businesses can implement to identify and prevent cybercrime in the workplace.

What is cybercrime?

Cybercrime encompasses a range of illicit online activities that aim to obtain information or financial gain by illegal means and can manifest in various forms. These can include:

  • Phishing – The sending of emails containing links which allow a cybercriminal to invade a network or system. These emails will often be disguised as work-related messaging in order to trick the recipient into opening them and clicking on the link.
  • Drive by downloads – This type of attack occurs when a user opens a compromised web page which then allows malicious code to be downloaded onto their device.
  • Hacking – A cybercriminal will often make their way into a system or network by ‘guessing’ usernames and passwords. They will, in many cases, use specially created software which helps them to zip through huge numbers of combinations at record speeds.

Apart from the financial implications, where a hacker can exploit access to bank account details or similar sensitive information, cybercrime can also have legal consequences. In the event of a client discovering that their confidential data has been compromised due to an attack on your system, they may take legal action against you under the Data Protection Act 2018.

How to Recognise and Prevent Cybercrime in the Workplace

It’s incredibly important to educate employees about the dangers of cybercrime in the workplace. In this section, we’re looking at ways to identify a possible attack as well as minimising the risk of incidents in the future.

Recognising Cybercrime

As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, recognising the signs of an attack can be tricky. In many instances cybercrime can go undetected for a significant amount of time. The following are a few signs which may indicate that your system, device or network has been compromised:

  • Computer crashing more regularly than usual
  • An increased number of pop ups and adverts
  • A noticeable slowdown on a device
  • An increase in virus messages
  • Sudden reduction in storage space
  • Disabled system tool
  • Unexpected browser redirections

To help with damage limitation in the event of a cyber-attack, it’s essential that each and every employee is educated in spotting these common signs.

Preventing Cybercrime in the Workplace

Every year in the UK, there are over 400,000 reported cyber-attacks on individuals and businesses. Like so many other things, when it comes to cybercrime, prevention is better than cure and there are a few ways in which all employees can help to stop cybercriminals in their tracks, including:

  • Emails – Make sure that you set controls on employee devices to block emails with certain credentials, including suspicious email addresses and links. Put in place a policy whereby employees are required to flag any emails which don’t appear to be legitimate.
  • Internet – While your employees may need to access the internet in the course of their work, it’s a good idea to place limits on this and to block pop ups on all employee devices.
  • Public Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi access in public places such as coffee shops, bars and shopping centres provides a playground for cybercriminals and so employees should be discouraged from using these services with their work-related devices.
  • Multi-step authentication – A surprising number of businesses still use a simple, one-step password in order to access systems. In 2023 this is woefully inadequate. Introducing a two or even three-step authentication process can significantly help to keep systems and networks safe.
  • Software – Investing in high-quality anti-virus software will be your first defence against many types of cybercrime. You should also have firewalls in place as an extra level of security for your business systems.
  • Personnel – Where possible, it’s a good idea to limit the number of personnel who have access to sensitive or confidential data and financial information.

Ways to Identify and Prevent Cybercrime in the Workplace

When a cybercrime occurs in the workplace, it can cause major disruption, as well as financial loss and reputational damage. While recognising the signs of a cyber-attack is important, putting measures in place to prevent such attacks is crucial. The best way to create a culture of cybercrime awareness is to task employees with responsibility.

By implementing the suggestions outlined in this article, such as investing in security software, creating strong passwords, and providing regular training and awareness, companies can reduce the risks of cybercrime and safeguard their valuable assets and information.

Taking a proactive and comprehensive approach to cybersecurity means that businesses can protect themselves from cyber threats and ensure the continuity of their operations.