Be aware of rising cybercrime

Sheena Wong and Ivan Yeh 

Alongside the environmental, social and governance (ESG) narrative, we see an acceleration in business digitalisation across the world. While enabling more possibilities through cloud-based solutions, cybersecurity has fast become a testing tech issue as attacks threaten to bring social chaos and disruption to computers and servers.  

Cyber-attacks are a significant risk for businesses because they can adversely impact a company’s entire stakeholder community. McAfee estimated that such attacks cost the global economy over USD 400 billion annually, giving cybersecurity a prominent place on today’s business agendas. 

Stolen identity and credentials

Identity theft and stolen credentials (usernames and passwords) are areas of attack. Company assets are at risk and employees in jeopardy as hackers attempt to gain access and wreak havoc through a user’s personal computer. 

You can encounter spyware and other forms of malicious code (malware) in many ways, such as downloading files and software, opening email attachments, clicking on pop-ups, or visiting devious websites. The prevalence of malware in pirated software and movies will also lead to the theft of credentials.  

Once connected to the Internet, spyware quietly runs in the background and transmits your personal information to cybercriminals. Such data can include your internet browsing habits and keystrokes, bank account numbers, usernames and passwords. The hacker can then hack into your bank account to steal your money, or sell your information for illicit or illegal purposes. 

The consequences of identity theft can go beyond damaging the victim’s creditworthiness. The crimes committed by the identity thief can become part of the victim’s court and criminal record, resulting in the victim being wrongly arrested or denied employment upon a routine background check. 

What can you do?

Use different passwords for different accounts or applications. If you use the same password across your accounts, all of your accounts become vulnerable once it has been cracked. Just as you use different keys to protect different places, use different passwords to protect important accounts.  

You might not realise it, but you regularly use two-factor authentication. When you swipe your debit card and are asked to enter your PIN code – this is a form of two-factor authentication, which requires two ways of proving your identity to enable the transaction. It takes an extra step but protects you against identity theft scams.

Setting up two-factor authentication

Cybersecurity is more than protecting laptops and devices; it protects our networks, company data and privacy. As we spend more time online, we need to keep up with our security measures.