There is no gainsaying the fact that over the years particularly since the beginning of the current millennium, the Internet has transformed the world from just a scientific network to an incredible platform that enables millions, if not billions of small, medium and large scale business enterprises reach their customers by means of just a click of the button.
Nowadays, one does not have to leave the comfort of one’s office room or residence before transacting a huge volume of businesses amongst, individuals, groups, corporate bodies and even not-for-profit establishments. Just on a desk top computer, laptop and even a mobile telephone gadget, one can check one’s account balance, send and receive money, study for a degree from reputable educational institutions in any part of the world and that is without going through the Herculean task of traveling to the site with a large amount of money. The Internet continues to devise the simple means of attaining that previously incredible feat once the will is there, the digital facilities provide the way.
Notwithstanding the vast potential and the ever growing opportunities that the Internet has provided, experts on Information, Communication and Technology are of the view that businesses, in the present time, face serious threats by unwholesome activities of hackers who always devise the means of having unauthorized access to the vital information of establishments with the sole intention to defraud business entities and even individuals.
It is on record that currently, there are about 58,000 computer viruses worldwide and the figure continues to grow at a very fast and alarming rate with almost 700 new ones emerging each month as a result of the nefarious activities of conscienceless hackers that are all over the place. Right now, there is 65 per cent increase in security threats to information systems while in the past two years or so, the number of internal network intrusion has almost quadrupled.
A recent information security survey discovered that only about 64 per cent of respondents monitor networks for security incidents and an equal number have no response plan for security breaches. This means that any business whether small or big with a broadband connection to the Internet risks becoming a victim of the hackers. What these unscrupulous people do is to clandestinely break into private computers and infest systems with various kinds of viruses and worms or gain access to sensitive files which may include a company’s sensitive intellectual property, valuable financial information like credit card details, account numbers and vital customer records.
The hackers, on penetrating the network, use the details there as a launch pad for sending junk emails in order to disrupt or overload their victims with junks. The attacks, in the end, may completely crash a network and cause data to be completely deleted or even damage the entire computer equipment or systems.
There are cases where individual information is sold and used for sinister purposes. By this means, credit card details and passwords can be stolen thereby causing huge financial losses to individuals. It is quit obvious that hacking has caused and continues to cause until now, bankruptcy even in big companies which, in the end, lose the confidence of their clients. Big companies are the normal targets
There are some cases in which some companies clandestinely hire hackers to break into their competitors’ systems to steal very valuable information while websites for online transactions are also hacked in order to get client and company information that are eventually used for nefarious activities.
In order to be free from the menace of hackers some solid counter-productive measures must be taken by developing a strategic company information security policy, implementing network perimeter security and conducting vulnerability tests on a regular basis. The other way to beat the hackers to their game is by investing on capacity building programs for the users who must also be equipped with different security techniques.