In general, a distinction is made in cybercrime between crimes that are carried out entirely in the digital realm and offenses in which the network serves as a tool. While a DDoS attack, for example, is aimed at restricting the availability of web services and thus takes place entirely in cyberspace, the trade in prohibited or stolen goods can also be carried out in a completely analog way - in this case, only the transaction is carried out on virtual platforms in the darknet.
Common attack practices used by cybercriminals include:
In general, every company is a potential target for cybercriminals, regardless of industry or size. The question is not whether, but when and to what extent an attack on one's own company takes place. Cyber criminals focus particularly on e-commerce companies, banks, FinTechs, insurance companies, the manufacturing industry, the media and the healthcare sector. However, data centers as well as authorities and other organizations from the public sector are also among the preferred targets of attackers. In 2022, almost 9 out of 10 of all German companies (84 percent) were victims of digital sabotage, data theft or espionage, according to a representative survey by the digital association Bitkom.
To successfully combat cybercrime, companies should first observe and cleanly implement the industry-standard guidelines for data protection and IT security. Depending on size and environment, different guidelines apply here. While financial service providers, for example, are bound by the requirements of BaFin, operators of critical infrastructures are subject to the requirements of IT-SiG 2.0. In general, it is important for all companies to protect critical data sets from unauthorized access and to use backups to protect against possible data breaches. In addition, the GDPR provides for particularly careful handling of personal data.
In addition to compliance and data protection, companies must of course also keep an eye on IT security to secure their digital business processes in the best possible way. To be able to respond appropriately to increasingly complex attacks, intelligent and dynamic protection solutions are required to identify, categorize and mitigate threats independently.
These protection systems must be implemented for all relevant network layers. In the case of a managed cloud service, the service provider can, if desired, take over the complete configuration and oversee the correct operation – for example, of the DDoS protection for data centers (layer 3/4) as well as web applications (layer 7).
As part of a holistic security strategy, companies should establish organizational prevention measures in addition to technical ones. For example, it is advisable to identify target systems that are under threat as a preventive measure, clarify internal responsibilities, regulate communication with the Internet service provider, define checklists and processes for the event of an attack, and provide regular training for employees.
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