Many small businesses collapse after successful cyber-attack. Around 60% of SMEs close within 6 months of a major cyber-attack. Larger businesses may simply have their competitiveness reduced to the advantage of their competitors.

Typical cyber-crime attacks

Cyber-crime has several sides to it, including :

  • Simple financial theft: e.g. though a business's bank passwords
  • Property theft: e.g. where access to a companies IT can facilitate stealing products
  • Blackmail: e.g. through ransom-ware, where a business has to pay a fee to buy a key to unlock its computer files
  • Theft of intellectual property: e.g. information about how to make or do something that a business has kept secret
  • Competitive advantage: e.g. theft of critical confidential information of use to competitors
  • Political: e.g. gaining confidential organizational information for political ends
  • Intelligence gathering: e.g. identifying where yours or your clients valuable resources are and pathways to access them.

A single cyber-attack can be intended to commit multiple crimes in different areas of your business. Multiple cyber-attacks can be combined.

Types of Business Losses from Cyber-Crime

Cyber-risks can result in significant losses, and these can be  very varied:

  • Direct immediate financial losses (e.g. theft of money or products, damage to ability to do business,
  • Loss of confidentiality of information leading to subsequent losses (e.g. confidential client information of (say) financial planners, lawyers, doctors...)
  • Loss of credibility leading to subsequent business losses (e.g.
  • Loss of key staff (e.g. confidentiality on person movements in businesses operating in high-risk environments)
  • Legal penalties for loss of customer data (e.g. in EU current penalty is 4% of turnover)

Take Aways for Managers

  • The financial consequences of cyber-crime  losses on businesses are large and almost all businesses are targets (especially SMEs).
  • There are many different types of cyber-attacks and cyber-crimes  your business can be subjected to.
  • There are many kinds of losses that can result from a cyber attack
  • Cyber-attacks can be combined to create different kinds of losses in your business.
  • Management decisions can minimise business losses  from cyber-crimes (e.g. by segregating information so that a cyber-attack does not get everything).

Are you cyber-secure? For a full in-depth assessment of your level of cyber-risk, and how to better secure your business from cyber attack, call +61 (0) 434 975 848 or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr Terence Love
Design Out Crime and CPTED Centre


Resources - Cyber-losses