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
Dr Terence Love
Design Out Crime and CPTED Centre
Resources - Cyber-losses