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09 February 2017

What Beckileaks can teach us as business owners

By Dave Stallon, commercial director of FSB 

Within the last few days, when news broke about the David Beckham email hacking controversy, dubbed ‘Beckileaks’ it brought home to me again, how cyber crime is a fast growing threat to us all. This extends beyond the realm of celebrities, like Beckham. Seven million cyber crimes are committed against smaller businesses in the UK every year, each costing nearly £3,000, and taking more than two days recover from. The risk of cyber crime attack is rising. Attackers are becoming more effective, whilst we are becoming less able to detect attacks.

The most common types of cyber crimes committed against smaller businesses are: phishing emails (49 per cent), where digital channels are used to deceptively obtain personal and financial information; spear phishing emails (37 per cent), where the relevant email appears to be someone or an organisation the receiver knows; and malware attacks (29 per cent) against a computer, other device or network, by malicious software, such as viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms, and rootkits. In the retail and wholesale trade sectors, CNP (card not present) fraud is added to this list at 21 per cent.

Smaller businesses should take basic cyber resilience precautions: using computer securing software; having a strict password policy; carrying out regular updates of IT systems; putting in place a cyber crisis plan; implementing processes that carry a recognised security standard, such as ISO27001; and having a cyber insurance policy.

Taking steps to protect our businesses through these measures, is an obviously sound move. However, smaller businesses who are focused on growth and providing employment to stimulate the economy, have limited resources, time and expertise to deal with digital attacks.

In response to this, from March 2017, FSB is introducing a new free cyber protection package to all our members. This will include free cyber protection insurance cover, as well as a cyber and data advice line, and access to specialist online information.

As a powerful voice in Government, FSB has also set out policy recommendations to Government which are detailed in our 2016 report Cyber resilience: How to protect small firms in the digital economy.

Cyber crime is one of the fastest growing areas of crime globally, affecting celebs, individuals and businesses across the board. Smaller businesses can minimise the risk by following best practice processes.