IT security in SMBs sometimes depends on the awareness of the employees.
Many Swiss entrepreneurs still think that cyber criminals are not interested in SMBs. However, it is precisely this negligent attitude that cyber criminals exploit and attack the IT security of SMEs more and more frequently. Andreas Eugster, head of the cyber investigation department of the Zug police, has a lot to do. And it has a clear message for entrepreneurs in the canton of Zug and all of Switzerland.
Rising number of cyber incidents – inadequate IT security
The police statistics of the canton of Zug shows increasing numbers of cyber incidents. Andreas Eugster and his team come into play when IT security has not been sufficient, the fraudsters have been successful and the company files criminal charges with the authorities. Digital investigation is the job of the cyber investigators of the Zug police force: searching for clues, evaluating data, drawing conclusions, continuing the search. Andreas Eugster will not reveal exactly how they do this. Police tactics. But he does reveal something without hesitation: “There is always more for us to do”. Every analog crime today also has a digital component, explains Andreas Eugster, who is passionate about his job. Cyber criminals know exactly where the chances of a successful digital break-in are greatest.
The greatest risk is people
The technologies of the major providers are now equipped with the most modern and intelligent security functions. That made people the weakest link in the chain, as Andreas Eugster knows from personal experience: “The gateway is almost always a human interaction. A click on an inconspicuous link can be enough and a perpetrator has gained access to the system. ” To get people to act like this, cyber criminals use the manipulation technique «social engineering». They camouflage and fake activities, for example sending emails on behalf of superiors or partner companies. Deceived employees smuggle the cybercriminals past even the most intelligent security technologies – and don’t even notice anything.
«It is imperative to raise awareness»
The cyber investigation by the Zug police was launched in summer 2016. Since then, Eugster has picked up the phone many times: “I receive calls from companies of all sizes that have been attacked. In large companies, the processes are often well established, but small and medium-sized companies are usually overwhelmed and rely on external help ». The SMEs are still far too little aware that they, too, are lucrative targets for criminals with intent to gain wealth. This awareness must definitely be increased, said Eugster.
Ransomware attacks cost a lot more than just the ransom
If the ransomware strikes and encrypts the entire system, it becomes costly. But not primarily because of large ransom money. The police and the federal government clearly advise against paying ransom at all. “If you make yourself susceptible to blackmail once, you are always susceptible to blackmail,” says Eugster. However, what companies end up being much more expensive in one way or another are operational and subsequent loss of revenue, expenses for restoring and better protection of the entire IT infrastructure. The cost estimates for a cyber incident vary widely, depending on the scope of the attack, depending on the source they are USD 190’000, CHF 1 million. or even USD 13 million.
No more reasons to neglect IT security
In 2020, companies worldwide named IT security for the first time as the greatest risk for their operations. And yet 90% of SMEs do not implement data protection according to Microsoft. Many reasons for this will no longer hold up in 2020: modern IT solutions offer enterprise-level security and are available today at SME costs. Cybercrime is highly relevant for SMEs, because at least every third party has already come into contact with it. It can only be due to a lack of awareness.
Training and awareness of employees
For this reason, the training of employees is a central point in the security precautions of SMBs. Employees must be trained in user behavior and develop an increased awareness of fraudulent behavior patterns. Cyber policeman Eugster speaks here above all of a “healthy skepticism” and compares this with an analogous example. “If you have a paper flyer in your mailbox, despite an attached advertising ban, on which a telephone number is written and any promises of money are predicted, you hardly believe it and throw the advertising into the waste paper. This is exactly the kind of behavior that must also be adopted in the digital sector.
A planned test attack allows an unembellished view of IT security and employee behavior, a good tool that can contribute a lot to a healthy skepticism. And this is urgently needed, because cyber criminals should not lose interest in SMEs so quickly.
That’s why we offer a service especially for SMEs with the redCloud Phish Threat with which you can test your employees without consequences whether they are fit to deal with abusive e-mails. The solution Security Awareness Training, also helps to keep the risk factor employees as small as possible.