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Why you need to think like a digital criminal


05 July 2016

Mark Hughes

Blogs by author: Mark Hughes, President, BT Security


Cyber attacks are rapidly increasing. Your organisation needs a strong approach to the threats of the digital world — and that means thinking like a criminal entrepreneur.

The internet economy is worth an estimated £4.2 trillion in 2016, and this figure will continue to rise. This makes the online world a profitable place for legitimate businesses, and a goldmine for cyber criminals.

Into the cyber criminal’s mind.

In partnership with KPMG, we’ve produced a report which delves into the murky world of digital crime and provides effective strategies for preventing it. Our research shows that the best way to avoid falling victim is to disrupt the criminals, rather than simply protecting your perimeter.

And to disrupt a cyber criminal, you have to think like one…

Are you prepared?

While awareness of digital crime is high, only a small minority of companies feel prepared to protect themselves. That’s because most organisations don’t understand the motivations and the methods of the people attacking them.

This should be a serious concern for business, as 97 per cent of companies have been the victim of digital attack, yet only 22 per cent are fully prepared to deal with future incidents.

Disrupting digital crime.

It’s important to understand that cyber criminals are entrepreneurs. They’re ruthless, yet rational, individuals — most often driven by profit. Like legitimate company executives, they develop a business model that allows them to succeed.

Part of their ‘business model’ is to collectively fund research and development directed at exploiting any vulnerabilities in companies’ networks. And the latest digital strategies are a particular focus.

To combat these enterprises, businesses need to disrupt the cyber criminals, and make their business model ineffective, rather than waiting for them to launch an attack. Understanding this is key to effectively combating the cyber threat.

Your organisation has to think more about who these people are, and what they want, to inform effective action and defence. You have to get inside the mind and business model of the cyber criminal.

Our new report with KPMG will help you do just that. And in our next blog we’ll look at how this fits in to an overall strategy to beat the criminal entrepreneurs.