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Report: Industries need to be proactive to combat sources of cybercrime

Dec 01, 2012 Quinn Thomas

A recent report found that financial services, healthcare, retail and the hospitality industry take the brunt of cybercrime and outlined ways for those businesses to combat online fraud by shoring up their security. "Understanding what happens when a data breach occurs is critical to proactive prevention," said Wade Baker, of Verizon's RISK team. "Through targeted analysis, we are hoping to provide answers to businesses around the globe that want to protect not only their data, but their reputations." The company's Data Breach Investigations Report was based on 855 data breaches affecting more than 174 million compromised records. In addition to specific industries, Verizon reported that intellectual property cyber theft often involves inside parties working with outsiders. Monitoring corporate networks, updating security and releasing information on a "need to know" basis are the best protections. The report noted that online theft of intellectual property is multi-faceted and more difficult to contain. However, since two-thirds of the insiders involved in such cases are permanent employees, companies can arm themselves with stringent background checks on new hires. Reviewing credit histories, for instance, can indicate patterns of financial irresponsibility that could be a precursor to illegal activity. With employees fully vetted, the opportunities for workers to collude with outsiders could be reduced. Hard-hit industries
According to ZDNet, the financial sector generally draws hackers with advanced skills who access internal accounts and apps directly or through downstream fraud. Their focus is on ATMs, network servers and employees. In such cases, companies best security measures are improved login credentials, more secure application development and heightened security awareness among workers. In the healthcare industry, Verizon found most data breaches occurred at outpatient facilities on point-of-sale (POS) systems. To guard against hacking or threats from malware, companies are advised to change passwords often, use firewalls and have their POS systems compliant with industry standards. Small to mid-size businesses and franchises are hardest hit in retail POS. These firms often rely on third-party vendors because retail operations frequently don't have in-house security systems. Choosing a third-party vendor carefully, educating employees about suspicious emails and instituting firewalls and anti-virus protection is crucial. The report found the hospitality sector had more breaches in the past two years than any other industry, largely because their POS systems are outdated or unsecured. Upgrading security and educating staffers are the suggested deterrents.