A cyber-attack refers to illegal strategies practiced by persons or groups targeting computer systems, individual devices, and infrastructural networks. The attacks originate from unknown locations and are aimed at stealing, altering or destroying targeted systems (Ortmeier, 2017). The cyber attacker initiates an attack by introducing a bug or a virus into the computer network, and the attacker may be an employee of the organization or simply an outsider from an unknown location. Lack of knowledge on cyber-crime can be dangerous for people and a business organization (Rid, 2015). Cyber-attack has become rampant in the world today, and knowledge about the effects and how to solve these crimes is important for businesses as well as people in general.
Cyber-attacks, if successful, can have adverse effects on operation and management of a business in the following ways;
Information loss: an attack on the computer database can destroy the information kept in the system. The data may be sales records, orders and invoice filings which are critical in running and operating the business. Reconstructing all the files and retrieving the information lost may cost the company regarding time and financial resources to hire information technology experts. At times it may become difficult to retrieve the information that had been saved in case of a cyber-attack (Ortmeier, 2017). It may be the case where all the backup information has also been tampered with. Loss of information is dangerous for any company since it may be impossible to establish the trends in operations over the years in case all data is lost. When a hacker obtains information such as employee salaries, the security of employees may be at risk since they may become targets of criminals.
Revenue decline: in the event of an attack on the computer system either through virus introduction or hacking, reconstruction, and information retrieval may take a few days. The owner may be forced to cease operations for a few days until the system is restored. In that time span, the owner’s clients may shift and seek for products or services from his or her rivals. The business will thus experience losses during the closure period (Ortmeier, 2017). The profits will also decline due to inability to attract more customers since most investors will shy away from investing in a business that is prone to attacks. More profits can hence fail to be realized in the long run leading to the downfall of an organization (Rid, 2015).
Destroy self-image: a cyber-crime against a company can serve as an indication of poor management. Clients and other stakeholders may avoid transacting with the company since they deem management as powerless and careless. The reputation of a company is important since it strengthens the trust of customers. When a cyber-attack happens on a business, it counters all the trust that had been built on the customers of that business organization. It therefore lead to loss of present and potential customers, sales will be declined hence profits minimized. The other parties that also contribute to the effective performance of the business will also lower their trust in the organization. They include the suppliers of goods, shareholders and other potential investors.
A ruin of possible expansion: a company faces a cyber-attack, it becomes impossible to expand to other countries which are strict on cyber-crimes. In places where the market could be viable, the business may not be able to venture since it lacks trust of the people. The company can hence become limited to expand its operations since it cannot be trusted in a new country. More profits cannot be realized, and global acknowledgment may become difficult which is a loss for any business.
Financial losses: Occurs due to the loss of data that is very important to the company such as details of banks and payment cards. Money can also be stolen without the knowledge of the company since a hacker can transfer money to their accounts online. The inability to effectively perform business can lead to huge financial losses for the company since all of them are withdrawals on the side of the company. Money is also spent by the company to repair their systems to curb future cyber-attacks which may be costly for the company since specialists have to be employed and more advanced technology implemented. Cyber-crimes hence affect businesses hugely.
The staff that is believed that in a way could have stopped the attack or is in charge of the IT may also be fired. The company may put the blame on them and may decide to hire new staff to replace them. It will, therefore, be costly for the company since there are costs associated with hiring new staff such as training. The new staff may also come up with new payment needs which the company has to put up with to continue its operations smoothly. High costs are hence realized by the business which had been unplanned for. Time is also lost when training people and fixing the networks in an organization and about the statement that time is money, there are also financial losses that are encountered.
Legal effects: there is an act of protection of data which insist on proper handling of the security of data that a person hold. If, for instance, that data is mishandled whether on purpose or accidentally for example being hacked, it is believed that there were no adequate measures used to maintain security and as a result fines are administered. Business may suffer legal charges that had not been planned for hence distorting its budget and losses are encountered.
The government also becomes strict on the business operations in that the company becomes limited. The business may not be able to undertake most of the activities it previously undertook thus leading to losses.
Revaluation of security mechanisms by individuals and businesses
Cyber-attacks recently have targeted small and medium-sized financial firms. For instance, in the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigations in coordination with cyber-crime complaint center has notified the public that individuals are utilizing vector attacks to impair banks and other related financial Institutions and initiating illegal money movements. To control this illegality, the firms need to prioritize on evaluating the functionality and reliability of their security systems regularly (Kirkpatrick, 2015).
Imparting technology skills through training
Some of the biggest companies in the United States and the United Kingdom are usually at risk of cyber-attacks due to lack of expertise and knowledge on the part of their directors (Song, 2017). Many directors do not know the response to be initiated in the occurrence of an attack on the firms. Most of the companies operate without a strategic response plan on criminal incidence (Meeker, 2015). They do not have the proper approaches to deal with cyber-attacks, and this poses great risks to the company’s finances and data. To curb this, the company needs to have a properly established training program targeting all the stakeholders in the company starting from senior management to the intern. Knowledge and expertise will help the directors initiate comprehensive strategies for an effective response to the occurrence of an attack. Technology is important since it is a competitive advantage strategy. When the staff of an organization is trained on new technological skills, they will able to curb the effects of cyber-attacks.
Investing in strong data management systems
Nowadays, cybercriminals have diversified their criminal activities by attacking the Charity firms and foundations. The attacks compromise the confidentiality of the donors and also put the funds donated to welfare programs at risk. Therefore the charity foundation stakeholders need to initiate strong information security policies and also invest in firm data management systems meant to safeguard the foundation’s information. It will also limit regular outsourcing of expertise in restoring the systems in the occurrence of attacks (Meeker, 2015).
Cyber-crime has gained prevalence affecting the bigger sector of the economy. The attacks have affected the majority of the businesses leading to losses and underperformance. To inhibit the impacts, the government should introduce information protection bill. The bill on passing to the law will secure the rights of citizens and increase their ease in managing their information. The government should also provide company management boards with cybersecurity guides. The guides aim to equip the directors who lack expertise in responses to cyber-attacks. The government should also put in more stringent measures that will discourage people from trying these attacks. Penalties and sentencing should be given to the criminals to act as an example to others. People will be more fearful of committing this kind of crime.
Internal security sourcing
Management should analyze its current competent employees for those with computer expertise even if they lack experience in the security field. The employees have a clear knowledge of all the operations of the organization. They are familiar with all the gaps and loopholes in the company’s information systems. The can serve as a good source of security and with time can greatly develop their skills and strengthen security. Outsourcing can be risky since the experts get to know the company’s loopholes and can decide to take advantage by hacking the organization (Song, 2017). To prevent this, it better for the management to develop its staff.
The government together with other stakeholders in the community such as the media should notify members of the public on the dangers and threats associated with cyber-crime (Song, 2017). The business people in the society need to know the risks posed by the cybercriminals and the most convenient ways to deal with the situations of occurrence. Creating awareness will help investors and other individuals prepare for anticipated attacks. Businesses will be more vigilant leading to initiation and development in the cybersecurity sector.
In conclusion, people should be educated on cyber-crimes. Most people are not aware of the effects and how dangerous it might be. They should be made aware of these effects so that they can try to curb such attacks whenever they detect them.
Kirkpatrick, K. (2015). Cyber policies on the rise. Communications of the ACM, 58(10), 21-23.
Meeker, M. (2015). Internet trends 2015-code conference. Glokalde, 1(3).
Ortmeier, P. J. (2017). Introduction to Security. Pearson.
Rid, T., & Buchanan, B. (2015). Attributing cyber attacks. Journal of Strategic Studies, 38(1-2), 4-37.
Song, H., Fink, G. A., & Jeschke, S. (Eds.). (2017). Security and Privacy in Cyber-Physical Systems: Foundations, Principles, and Applications. John Wiley & Sons.