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Don’t wait until you are hacked – companies told

Local companies are being warned that they could lose millions of dollars each year to cybercrime if they do not carefully store their information and that of their customers.

In fact, consulting systems engineer for Cisco Aaron Torres estimates that companies worldwide are losing an estimated US$34 million annually due to ransom.

He said while people were becoming more aware of the various threats, it was still important that companies put the necessary tools and systems in place to combat the threat of cybercrime.

“For some it is hard to justify. Some people say, ‘I don’t have a budget, why do I need it?’ Well, until you are hacked, and they steal that data, [that] is when you realize, ‘I lost a lot of money. Maybe I should have invested in that a long time ago’. So those are things you need to take a look at from an analytical perspective and start not only at the point in time, but [have] continuous monitoring,” Torres advised.

He also cautioned individuals about logging into their social media and other online accounts using publicly accessed Wi-Fi, pointing out that the threats were even greater.

“There are definitely a lot of what I call man-in-the-middle attacks that intercept like Facebook . . . and they gather information that get sold on the black market to people that can use that data,” he told reporters during a one-day cybercrime seminar at the Sandy Lane hotel on Tuesday.

General manager of Digicel Business Martin Keogh said his company was cognizant of the need for individuals, as well as private and public sector entities to protect their data.

He acknowledged that defending an organization’s assets from hackers, viruses and other cyber threats was a challenge.

Keogh told participants that cyber criminals were savvier than they were years ago, warning that “cybercrime is now very big news and very big business, the cyber criminals are as expert commercially as they are technically”.

However, he encouraged those attending the seminar to have a “dedicated security budget” in place.

“From small companies who use business broadband services to large companies and governments who use dedicated high speed Internet access, organizations are more connected to the Internet than ever before. The Internet connection therefore brings with it great opportunity, and great risk if not managed,” Keogh said.

The Digicel executive added that his company’s training and certification budget this year alone was $400,000.

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