Today’s world is one of ultra-connectivity, with personal computers handling everything from high finance to private file sharing. Computers and the Internet can make big business and law easier and faster to navigate than ever before, but it carries new risks as well. Computer intrusion is a very real threat, and its consequences can be serious. But with the right know-how and defenses, a person’s or company’s cyber-security and assets can stay safe.
The Menace of Computer Intrusion
According to PC Mag, computer intrusion is defined simply as access to a computer without proper authorization. This can take multiple forms, and for different purposes. Blackmail, spreading spam, and deleting files are common intentions, but computer intrusions can be even more sinister. Often, the intruder scours the computer’s files for sensitive information: addresses, names, and most of all, any data related to money and business. Armed with this stolen data, a hacker or other cyber-criminal can drain bank accounts with ease, and throw a company’s finances into chaos. Direct hacking, or using malicious e-mails, can give cyber-criminals access to money and personal data, anywhere.
The Damage This Crime Can Deal
Computer intrusions can often happen when a cyber-criminal sends e-mails that mimic official e-mails from individuals or companies. Once opened, malware from the e-mail’s attachments or links invade the computer and steal data, often for theft. According to Fortune, in 2016, cyber-criminals stole $1.33 billion in 2016, and businesses lost $360 million. The WannaCry ransomware struck in 2017 in 150 countries, and computers, numbering around 300,000, were infected. These computers were in hospitals, schools, shops, and factories.
With all this money stolen from such an attack, computer intrusions can lead a company or individual to bankruptcy if the damage was serious enough. The next step is to visit a bankruptcy court and use bankruptcy law to recover from the situation. Illegal transactions of money can drive someone to this difficult scenario, but recovery is possible. As explained on Debt, 97% of those who filed for bankruptcy were private individuals, and in 2015, the total debt of individuals and businesses amounted to $133 billion. Financial services for the filer take the form of a bankruptcy lawyer and the filer listing all of his/her assets to analysis. If the delicate process is carried out the right way, the filer can start over with a clean financial slate. Where companies are concerned, the numbers are clear: among chapter 11 debtors, 90% of them have assets or liabilities totaling in value under $10 million. Their revenue is usually under $10 million, and they have 50 or few employees.
Defense Against Computer Intrusions
Information privacy, then, is essential. At Forbes, several countermeasures are possible. One is to review personal or business credit reports on a specific day each week, to quickly notice any oddities and investigate them. A monthly check could leave the cyber-criminal’s activity unnoticed for weeks on end. Also, changing passwords often can keep hackers guessing, and they should be strong, meaning they have hard-to-guess arrangements of obscure words, numerals, and characters. Another option is to remember (and tell employees) to never click links or open attachments on e-mails from unfamiliar senders. If the e-mail mimics a familiar sender, there are often small errors or inconsistencies in the e-mail that the receiver can check for.