Cyber Security – A Costly Threat to Businesses

Companies of all sizes have to monitor and protect all technology, including computers, laptops and mobile phones. This ensures that company information is secure at home, work and on the move. It is now a must to protect your cyber space in a world of persistent threats. Canada was 6th on the list of countries that are most likely to be targeted for cyber security threats and crimes in 2010. Canada also witnessed a 53% increase of hacking-related crime in the past year. The Canadian Association of Police Boards surveyed 600 businesses and found some alarming numbers in a recent survey.

  • 49% of respondents were victims of cybercrime (cyber crime includes banking and personal information being stolen or lost through the Internet, hackers holding businesses for ransom, identity theft, and interference with critical infrastructure like power grids or water systems.
  • 70% of victims of cybercrime have not reported it because they are unsure of who to report or don’t believe justice will be done.
  • 86% of respondents said that cybercrime is a problem.
  • 95% believe they are being targeted by cybercrime (most respondents think the greatest threats to their identity are financial fraud, computer viruses and identity theft).
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These are the definitions of cyber security:

Protecting confidential and important information like banking data and client data as well as passwords from online attacks, such as hacking, viruses, and spyware.

Cyber protection is more difficult for larger businesses, especially those that receive payments online via credit cards. Cyber related crimes are becoming more common as billions of dollars worth of transactions take place on the World Wide Web every day. Effective protection and measures must be put in place to prevent and repel these criminals. New threats are constantly being introduced to businesses, so it is important for them to update their software and implement new procedures. According to a Vancouver newspaper, police are looking for information about individuals who embed technology into Point of Sale Terminals. This technology records credit card information and then transfers it online to buy products/services. After receiving their bill, the credit card owner discovered that the merchant they had bought their product from had spent thousands. The owner of the business is contacted regarding these purchases. He or she has no idea and must spend time investigating the matter. This can take many days, and the credit card company may suspend their services. This can result in business owners losing thousands of dollars in time and future revenue.

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A sound insurance policy can help you recover these costs. You must ensure that you are looking for this coverage. A classic Commercial General Liability policy shows clearly what is not covered.

(h) any data or hardware loss, programming, reprogramming, data entry, processing, virus, hacking, consulting or advisory services are excluded.

(g) Any services to resolve any Electronic data issues

You can get policies that eliminate this exclusion and add specific coverages for your industry sector. This extra protection gives business owners the assurance that their exposures are covered on a national or global basis.

Additionally, there are a few easy ways to help protect and save vital information.


DELETE when in doubt

You should not include unusual hyperlinks or urgent messages in your search results if you do not know where they came from.


The size and industry of your company will determine how often passwords need to be changed. It may not be a good idea for those who travel frequently with their laptops/tablets to store passwords in memory or on file.

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Logging off via the Internet

The possibility of an outside source accessing the computer is greatly reduced by closing down the internet at lunch and after-work.

Data backup:

It is a must to backup data. There are many ways to back up sensitive data including USB sticks, external hard drives & cloud computing to name a few. It could cost thousands to recover information that is not backed up.

Anti Virus software & Firewalls:

These two options can prevent harmful data from getting into your computer. Many small business owners believe that an extra firewall or antivirus software is unnecessary. It takes just one person to click on an email link or email that may lead to a hacker or virus entering.


A plan should be in place for small business owners in the event of a cyber-related emergency. If there is a breach, you or your employees should know what to do. It is a smart idea to keep the following numbers in your phone:

  • Internet Service Provider
  • Company/person handling your computer services
  • Online support for banks
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