When you think about computer crime and activities of international criminal gangs, it is natural to associate this behaviour with major firms with a global standing. Sometimes these firms are targeted because of their activities or status, sometimes it is a political attack based on certain decisions or behaviour carried out by these firms.

There is also the fact that if you are looking to make as much money as possible from criminal activity, you should be looking to target a major firm. There is a lot to be said for getting in and out, making as much money in one fell swoop as possible as opposed to trying to achieve success across a broad range of criminal attacks.

This is why one company, who employs 20 people, were shocked to learn that they were the victim of a computer hacking crime carried out by an international crime gang. The reason that the firm was targeted, in an attack that nearly led to the firm closing down, was because the criminals were looking to steal customer and personal data, allowing them to commit fraud and carry out blackmail. This is a style of crime that is on the rise and firms of all sizes need to be aware of this sort of activity. Cyber-crime is on the up and with gangs from all over the world placing a greater level of focus on this style of sophisticated crime; it isn’t going to go anyway at any point in the near future.

The development of the internet has brought positive and negative elements

The development of progress with respect to the internet and the way that we are all connected has brought about many benefits in life. However, there have also been a number of drawbacks and these crimes are a major blight. There is an increasing level of focus being placed on security and working out ways in which these crimes can be prevented but no matter the pace of progress being made by security experts, there is as much, if not more, progress being made by people looking to commit crime.

Detective Chief Inspector Dougie Grant was leading the investigation into the attack and he said; “We are talking about the full spectrum of business, from small to medium and right up to large scale organisations. Their online networks are being taken down, their websites are being taken down by attacks we call denial of service. We’re seeing network intrusions or hacking, we’re seeing data being stolen from companies.”

Businesses need to know that they are at risk

The attack featured ransomware, which allows the criminal gang to send a message to a user or company saying that unless there was a ransom paid to the gang, all of the company records and files would be destroyed. Det Ch Insp Grant said; “This ransomware had encrypted all their systems. They had lost control of all their network, they had no data in relation to their stock control, their invoicing, their full system had been lost. Because of the impact on the company it couldn’t trade and almost went out of business.”

The serious nature of this style of crime is evident and it is obvious that companies need to be aware of the possible threat to their business due to this sort of attack. There is a need for companies to maintain their security systems and to ensure that they are doing everything that they can in order to stay on top of all threats and risks.

The company involved was assisted by the local police force, upgraded their system and they are still trading as normal. However, not every firm is as fortunate and many companies have suffered serious disruption and a run of financial losses due to being victims of computer hacking.

With this sort of crime on the rise, there is a need for everyone to become better acquainted with what is involved with this style of crime. Law enforcement agencies need to understand what these crimes involve, companies need to know how to defend themselves against this style of crime and there is also a need for solicitor firms to understand the workings of this style of attack. Any solicitor firm that is called upon to defend criminals carrying out this sort of attack need to ensure that they are confident and comfortable with providing a high standard of service and representation to their clients.

Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.