raising awareness to better protect yourself


By Jeremy Gaignard, Commercial Account Manager at Mimecast

Cybercrime is a growing phenomenon that affects everyone: SMEs, large companies and individuals. According to a recent “Total Cost of Ransomware 2022” study conducted by Mimecast, 48% of respondents believe that cyberattacks have increased, with 31% of businesses experiencing more than three ransomware attacks in the past year. The biggest dangers can come from various security breaches and email is the best example of this. Impersonation attacks are becoming commonplace, exposing businesses to ransomware attacks that lead to financial losses.

Raise awareness

However, there are several ways to anticipate attacks from malicious actors and among them the awareness campaign remains the most effective. The French government must do everything it can to make the general public aware of the urgency of the threat. A topic that Emmanuel Macron addressed last January by promising to strengthen cybersecurity systems and experts. Because it is often not the technology that is the weak link in the cyber defense chain, but the user.

If the state has made great strides in raising public awareness of the dangers of SARS-CoV-2, in terms of guidelines and hygiene rules to protect against contamination, the same is not true. cyber attacks. Despite the implementation of an “anti-scam filter” and a “cyberscore” that should see the light of day in 2023, France needs a sustainable national information campaign to inform, sensitize and mobilize everyone against the strong growth of cybercrime.

The cost of ransomware

It is a fact that cyber attacks have a high cost that can be fatal for companies. In fact, 51% of attacks cost organizations more than $100,000. Figures that can have major consequences for their financial health. That’s why 24% of cybersecurity leaders believe that a bigger budget is needed to fight ransomware. Increasing the budget remains the best way to set up systems to deal with cyber threats that are becoming increasingly recurrent and sophisticated. Although the devices to protect against cyber-attacks can be expensive, all companies should offer regular awareness campaigns to minimize the risks as much as possible. On the other hand, it is interesting to note that large companies have the option to invest the necessary resources to protect corporate and customer data. In fact, 16% of them spend more than $850,000 a year on cybersecurity, an amount that could be misinvested if teams are not well aware of the challenges posed by cybersecurity.

Train properly to avoid cyber risks

Clicking an unsecured link may accidentally leak personal or financial information to cyber criminals and lead to device infection and/or financial loss. However, on a more global level, anyone who becomes a victim of cybercrime poses a potential threat to the security of the entire organization in which they work. It becomes a threat to the integrity of all systems, employees, customers, suppliers and partners – and in the worst case scenario, to national critical infrastructure. While 74% of companies say they are very well prepared to prevent ransomware attacks, some employees feel the need to get a little more involved. For example, 39% feel personally responsible for attacks. The good news is that companies are increasingly taking up the topic and are recognizing the importance of implementing best practices, as 45% of companies believe security awareness training can dramatically reduce the risk of ransomware attacks.

The measures to be taken

However, an effective public campaign must go beyond mere awareness-raising. It should also offer people concrete steps to improve their online safety – and make it as accessible and educational as possible. A campaign that reaches all age groups and all social strata consists of at least the following elements:

  • Tips to protect yourself
  • Downloadable resources and contact details for competent authorities
  • Clear and precise instructions on the first actions to take in the event of an attack
  • A multilingual and accessible website with up-to-date information on the latest types of threats
  • Raise awareness in schools, universities, colleges, clinics, train stations, taxi ranks and other crowded places

Finally, effective protection against cybercrime for companies and individuals at the national level can only work if everyone is informed, sensitized and encouraged to take the threat seriously and actively oppose it. This requires public information. Cybercrime affects us all! Only if everyone moves in the same direction will the French economy and national critical infrastructure have a chance to face the ever-growing cyber threats.

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