Combating Cybercrime via Educated Employees

Organizations have to be prepared for cyberattacks 100 percent of the time to stay safe. A hacker only has to be right once to hit pay dirt. 

Every organization is vulnerable. To combat cybercrime, there is no one-size-fits-all solution; however, educating individuals within an organization is the first step and best defense to help secure their environment. 

Understanding Cybercrime 

Employees must first have a basic overview of what classifies as cybercrime. Cybercrime is any activity that is conducted with the use of technology (i.e. cell phones, laptops, tablets) that has access to the Internet or another computer network. Some common examples of cybercrime include theft of personal data, fraud, ransomware, malware, and stalking. 

Recognizing Cybercrime 

Organizations must keep their guard up to thwart these cybersecurity attacks. Training employees on what they might experience with the most common attacks will help identify attacks early. Early identification allows your security team to prepare defenses and, hopefully, render the attacker empty-handed. Popular attacks include: 

  • Phishing: One of the most effective methods, a phishing attack is a deceptive widespread email from a trusted source, often sent to over a thousand individuals, attempting to acquire sensitive information. 
  • Spear Phishing: A spear phishing campaign goes one step further. In spear phishing, hackers learn detailed information about individuals within the organization including employee names, email addresses, and other personal information. As an example, hackers acting as the CEO or President might construct an email attack requesting employees transfer funds to a client. Not questioning an email from the boss, employees not prepared for this type of attack will transfer money to the hacker. Organizations commonly lose millions of dollars to this type of hack. 
  • Social Engineering: A non-technical technique, social engineering involves gathering information on a target. Employees often give away too much information, making it easy for hackers to form attacks. These attacks can take place over the phone or video conferencing, in email, or even in person. 
  • Device Swipes: Mobile phones can be one of the most damaging devices employees own. Phones are easy to forget or leave behind for someone to swipe. Phones should be password protected to ensure data is protected. 
  • Check/Wire Fraud: Attackers commonly “wash” checks keeping everything on the check the same except for one detail. This includes washing the dollar amount, replacing $4,000 with $40,000, or making the funds payable to the attacker. These attackers only need the account number and the bank’s routing number, which is readily available online. Any time an individual provides an account number, attackers can create a fake transfer. 
  • Ransomware: This attack starts with a seemingly innocuous email but once an employee clicks on a link, malware downloads in the background. Before you know it, a bad actor has control of organization-wide data and systems and holds them for ransom until the company pays an exorbitant sum of money. The worst part? Paying is no guarantee you’ll get your data back, nor that they won’t hit you again later. Many industries today have regulations to protect consumer and constituent data, so if a company gets hit by ransomware, there’s a strong chance they’ll also rack up fines for noncompliance.

Protecting Your Organization 

Attacks happen to organizations of every size—big and small. Threats continue to evolve and therefore, so must an organization’s defenses. Employees need to understand the importance of regularly questioning suspicious emails and seeking confirmation from stakeholders before actions are taken. 

As technology advances and the world is increasingly connected, the threat of cybercrime will only increase. A key step to keep organizations safe is providing employees with ongoing training to recognize the latest cybersecurity threats

At Resultant, we help organizations evolve their existing infrastructure to be ready for the cybersecurity threats of today—and tomorrow.

Find out how we can help your organization


Originally published October 23, 2015. Updated March 5, 2024.



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