Digital Transformation

Businesses told to beware ‘little-known, highly-targeted’ online threats

Cyber threats can come in a variety of different forms

As well as guarding themselves against the bigger, better-known cyber-security threats out there, businesses of all sizes need to be awake to the very real danger posed by lesser-known, more-nuanced threats.

Over the past couple of months, a number of major data protection incidents have made the headlines around the globe, including the online attacks suffered by Aramco of Saudi Arabia and RasGas of Qatar – two of the world’s biggest energy companies.

However, according to one expert, it’s not just these high-profile malware attacks that smaller firms need to be on their guard against, but rather smaller, unknown viruses that have been specifically developed to target their defences.

"These are the types of specific attacks that aren’t likely to affect the average organisation – they’re all very targeted," explains Leon Ward, field product manager at Sourcefire.

While it’s useful to be aware of them and know about their methods, the expert adds that it’s best to ensure that a company’s general defences, as well as its data security and disaster recovery measures are up-to-speed.

Moreover, Mr Ward also notes that if a company is successfully targeted by online fraudsters, this can make headlines, potentially causing serious damage to their reputation and losing them both existing and potential clients.

The growing importance of strict data protection measures for Britain’s companies was also recently highlighted by a report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

According to the trade body’s latest figures, online crime now costs UK retailers some £205 million a year, with businesses struggling to cope with the growing threat posed by increasingly-sophisticated fraudsters.

In particular, personal identification fraud has emerged as the most common form of online crime affecting retailers, with businesses stepping up their efforts to boost data protection measures without compromising the internet shopping experience for the consumer.