Cybercrimes can have devastating consequences for any business, especially law enforcement departments that are ill-prepared. According to a survey of 1,122 small business owners and managers, 42 percent experienced a cyberattack in the last year and 69 percent are concerned about cyberattacks in the next year.
Today, more than ever before, law enforcement relies on their data, networks and internet connectivity to conduct important business activities. However, even with security precautions in place, there is still a risk that law enforcement could fall victim to cybercrimes. This article will outline how cybercriminals attack businesses and how law enforcement can protect their department from cybercrimes.
What Is a Cybercrime?
A cybercrime is a criminal activity in which a criminal or hacker targets a computer, computer network or networked device. While most cybercriminals attack businesses in an attempt to make money or gain information, some aim to damage computers or networks. There are many different types of cybercrimes performed by criminals, such as email fraud, theft of financial data, ransomware attacks, infringing copyright, selling illegal items online, cyber extortion and identity fraud.
Cybercriminals that target computers may infect them with malware to prevent them from working properly. Malware can also be used to steal or delete data. Cybercriminals can even prevent users from being able to access a website or use a network. Hackers can also use computers to commit other crimes designed to spread malware, illegal images or illegal information.
What are Cybercriminals Looking for?
When cybercriminals execute an attack on a business, there are usually target items they are looking for, such as sensitive information. This could include the names, addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers of individuals. Hackers may also be looking for evidence from cases, such as fingerprints and polygraph results. In rare cases, cybercriminals could push past security measures to steal money from law enforcement departments using methods of engineering attacks and similar tactics.
How Do Cybercriminals Attack Businesses?
There are several ways that a cybercriminal can pull off a cyberattack; one of the most common methods is technological manipulation. This occurs when a cybercriminal gains access to data on a vulnerable cloud network or computer system that lacks proper security measures.
Another common way that cybercriminals can attack businesses is through employee manipulation. This may occur as a form of social engineering in which malicious activities are accomplished through human interactions. For example, an employee may receive an email that appears to be from their supervisor asking them to transfer money. Many employees may do so without verifying the email as they would not perceive the action to be risky.
Another nefarious tool used by cybercriminals to conduct attacks is via insider theft. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, businesses lose approximately five percent of their revenue to fraud each year.
How Can Companies Protect Against Cybercrimes?
While there is no way to guarantee that a business will not be affected by cybercrime, there are ways to drastically reduce the risk of becoming a victim. Consider the following tips for protecting a law enforcement department against cybercrimes:
- Keep apps and other software up-to-date. Always update applications and software as updates and patches become available.
- Encrypt sensitive data. Encrypted data essentially means data that is “jumbled” and cannot be deciphered without the appropriate “key.” Encrypting data can help prevent cybercriminals from reading sensitive information even if they are able to obtain it.
- Restrict authorization for software installation. Departments should not allow unauthorized staff the ability to install new software. Instead, this should be completed by an experienced IT team.
- Eliminate unused software. Uninstall apps or software that are no longer being used to avoid potential security risks.
- Know all on-network devices. Businesses should always maintain a list of computers and other devices on their network to make it easier to identify non-authorized users on the network.
- Use anti-virus and anti-malware software. Installing quality anti-virus and anti-malware software can be a first line defense to keeping businesses safe from malicious activities.
- Secure the business wifi network. Devices often look for “beacon frames” when they scan for wifi networks. Departments can help keep themselves invisible to hackers by switching off the beacon frame.
- Implement dual-factor authorization. Departments can greatly benefit from having two authorization methods in place, such as sending a confirmation code to a trusted device.
- Back up data on a regular basis. There is always a risk that a cybercriminal will steal or destroy sensitive information. For this reason, businesses should always have their data backed up.
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CPI OpenFox is dedicated to providing law enforcement professionals with reliable and secure law enforcement software solutions designed to help streamline workflows and enhance processes while keeping sensitive data safe from cybercriminals. To learn more about our suite of software products or to schedule a consultation with a CPI team member, contact CPI OpenFox today.