Identity Theft and the Impact on Businesses
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Identity Theft: The Basics
Identity theft, in layman's terms, is the fraudulent act of using another person’s name and personal information, without their permission, to commit fraud and any number of other crimes. Identity theft deliberately uses other people's identities as a means to gain financial benefits or even cause disadvantage and loss to the person whose identity has been stolen. Victims who have had their identity stolen could potentially suffer serious consequences, especially if they are falsely accused of committing the actions of the perpetrator. Cybercriminals usually steal information such as names, dates of birth, previous and current addresses, national insurance numbers, bank account and credit card details, and many more identifying factors that prove who you are. Identity theft can cause trouble for individuals and businesses alike.
How Can Identity Theft Affect Businesses?
With few safeguards in place, small businesses often make easy targets for identity thieves. Identity theft can have devastating consequences for businesses, should credit be taken out in your company name you could face significant difficulties trying to prove that you didn’t take out the credit yourself. You could even find yourself being chased up for debts you don’t owe.
If you are able to prove that your identity was stolen, you may find yourself caught out if you find out that your credit score has been destroyed due to the crime. This could leave your business unable to take out a loan in the future because banks will believe you are irresponsible with money.
Common ways information is gained to commit Identity Theft:
- A common form of attack is through the use of spyware. Hackers will plant malicious software to covertly monitor an organisation's online activity and gain unauthorised access to a hard drive within their network, and then share the information gained with third parties
- Man-in-the-middle attacks are also a common method of committing identity theft. Hackers will monitor any business activity conducted over unsecured networks. Once inside a network, cybercriminals can easily access confidential information
- Hackers can gain access to personal information that someone has shared on social media (over sharing) people often reveal a great deal of information about themselves online to promote their brands, leaving them vulnerable
How to Protect your Business?
Threats like spyware and man-in-the-middle attacks pose serious risks to your data, so ensure that you have comprehensive antivirus software in place. Look for a program or plan that includes a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that will keep you anonymous when you’re using the internet.
To prevent identity theft from causing serious damage, consider consulting companies that offer specialised identity theft services to see if they can help you monitor your security. You may be able to implement fraud monitoring services to alert you if your data is used illegally or even offer cover in case of identity theft.
What Can Securiwiser do for Your Business?
Securiwiser is a comprehensive monitoring tool that will allow you to take control of your cyber security. Your website, network, and systems will be subject to daily scans and should any suspicious activity occur you will be notified immediately and sent a detailed report of the findings. You will also receive grades based on how well each aspect of your security is functioning, so you can always focus on what, if anything, needs attention.
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