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Cyber Crime Poses Greatest Threat to SMEs

Article date: Fri, 19 Mar 2010 12:18 GMT

Philippe Jan, Cyber Security MSC tutor at Lancaster University

SMEs are simply not equipped to deal with the level of cyber crime in the UK, according to an industry round table.

With Google and social networking sites the latest targets for cyber crime, IT professionals and consumers need to do much more than just improve their user awareness to curb the increasing threat in 2010.

Adopting a holistic approach by practicing good PC hygiene and keeping up-to-date with patch and product updates, as well as encouraging SMEs to outsource to more knowledgeable companies, is just the start for cyber security.

Philippe Jan, Cyber Security MSC tutor at Lancaster University, said, "The difficulty is that there are many attackers and there are so few of us who work in the security field. We are therefore facing an uphill battle to know everything, from being a competent network system administrator and programmer, to a forensics expert and an educator.

"We have found that many of the attacks can be traced to internal sources and therefore having an educational and awareness push at user level will hopefully make people more aware of the dangers and make them less likely to be a victim of crime."

With blind faith in technology encouraging victims to fall foul to cyber crime, a change in social culture is fundamentally needed. IT professionals need to constantly refresh their knowledge and stay on top of technology to combat the external threats from professional organisations as well as those from rogue employees.

Daniel Fenwick, technical director of Zentek Forensics, said, "Employees taking information from an employer is probably the most damaging thing an individual can do. A database or a client base is often the most valuable information a company has."

The panel also suggested that organisations, such as hardware and software vendors and internet service providers, have a responsibility to protect the businesses that they service.

As the IT director of a major hosting provider, UKFast's Neil Lathwood responded, "We hold a lot of key data for thousands of organisations throughout the UK and they trust us with that information. We therefore have to ensure that our team realise the level of trust that we expect and make sure they receive the correct training and have the systems in place to be able to secure that data and use it on a day-to-day basis."

The round table discussions are held in association with UKFast with the aim of uniting business leaders to share advice and provide a wealth of ideas for other developing companies. The panel was completed by Ian Connolly, managing director of IGC Technical Solutions.

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