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Three ways to take the fight to the cyber criminals


12 October 2016

Mark Hughes

Blogs by author: Mark Hughes, President, BT Security


Building your cyber defences to prevent breaches is a good start, but it’s not enough. Here’s how to take the fight to criminal entrepreneurs and hit them where it hurts.

The need for speed in security.

Speed is a major issue when it comes to protecting your organisation from cyber attacks. Criminal entrepreneurs react to vulnerabilities with such speed, that you’ll find it difficult to keep up.

Take the Heartbleed bug, for example. Cyber criminals leapt at the chance to make money from this vulnerability, using it to their advantage in less than 24 hours after its appearance.

A new way to tackle cyber crime.

Let’s be honest, criminal entrepreneurs are probably faster than you are. Chances are, however quickly you can fix a gap in your defences, cyber criminals have already exploited it.

This isn’t a shocking indictment on your security capabilities; it simply shows that prevention alone isn’t enough to protect your organisation and your customers.

That’s why you have to think differently. Return on investment drives cyber criminals, so hitting their bottom line is the way forward. And this means taking a proactive approach to cut off criminal entrepreneurs’ revenue streams and put them out of business. Here are the three ways you can do this:

 1. Keep criminals away from your information.

Your first line of defence is to keep criminals out of your information systems. Criminal entrepreneurs are after your data, and without access to this, they can’t make any money. As we’ve already mentioned, this alone isn’t enough, but it helps to make your data as difficult to access as possible.

 2. Make it harder for attackers to exploit your data.

Should you suffer a breach, the next step is to make it harder for criminals to actually use your data. Encryption is a key element in achieving this — and banks offer a good example to follow. The combination of security measures and constant monitoring of unusual activity now makes it much harder for thieves to use stolen credit card data.

 3. Stop criminals spending their ill-gotten gains.

To truly cut off criminal entrepreneurs’ ability to capitalise on their crimes, you have to stop them using their profits. This means being part of a collaborative worldwide effort to prevent money laundering and access to black markets. You, and other organisations, can do this by working with law enforcement agencies, telecoms companies and insurers to combat crime.

The best form of defence.

Cyber criminals might have speed on their side, but you can do a lot more than reinforce your perimeter defences to beat them. As the three points above show, you have to protect your data even after a breach.

Find out more about how to take the fight to the criminal entrepreneurs — download ‘Taking the Offensive — Disrupting Cyber Crime’, our new report, in partnership with KPMG.

And keep an eye out for the next blog in this series, when we’ll look at other ways to handle the need for speed in cyber security.