Top 5 Drivers of Business Disruption in 2017 – #3 Cybersecurity

Increasing Incidents of Commercially Orientated DDoS Attacks

As the world transitions into an even more digital society, cyberattacks have become an unavoidable reality for commercial businesses. The collection of mass data in online environments has led to cybercrime on a scale never seen before. Data is power, so getting hold of valuable information can be a very profitable endeavour. One common type of cyberattack is DDoS, which stands for Distributed Denial of Service. By saturating the targeted infrastructure with numerous devices and commands, DDoS attacks block access for intended users. They are used to crash websites, destroy security systems and threaten the victim into paying ransoms. This time last year, the BBC faced a DDoS attack which rendered their websites unusable for hours. In the last couple of years, sophisticated cyberattacks have targeted commercial businesses. In November 2016, Tesco Bank fell victim to the largest UK bank hacking scandal to date. Around 9,000 customers lost a total of £2.5 million in savings. This isn’t something that will go away in 2017 – if anything, cybercrime is bound to get worse.

So what can be done to defend online information? Businesses need to update their cybersecurity systems on all levels using cloud based solutions and security providers. An important development in the past few years has been the realisation by governing powers that cybercrime is a serious issue in need of consideration. Whilst some governments have put rules in place that make national companies invest in quality cybersecurity, European Union regulations won’t take effect until 2018. Therefore 2017 is the last chance for companies within the EU to comply with the mandatory guidelines – which means that hackers will be looking to exploit any stragglers.

This year, we can expect to see more commercial businesses targeted by DDoS hacks, as well as high profile individuals. Whilst recent cybersecurity breaches have focused on bigger companies, they are now well aware of the possibility of experiencing DDoS (and other) attacks. SMEs are at high risk as unlike larger organisations they are less likely to have stellar security systems in place. The growth of these commercially orientated cyberattacks will change the nature of crime, as physical crime is potentially riskier and less profitable than a meticulously planned cyberattack. For commercial businesses that store masses of important data, cybersecurity breaches have gone from possibility to probability. Luckily, there are ways to safeguard against attacks. Despite this, consumers should be very careful about entrusting their information to companies that haven’t openly invested in ramping up their online security.