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Your biggest enemies – cyber criminals – worry about cash flow too

As some wise guy once said, “if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles”. That's from Sun Tzu's much-quoted The Art of War but maybe we can apply its wisdom to the current battle against cyber criminals, which is costing the global economy $450 billion annually according to one estimate. This figure is likely to increase and has no doubt already risen following the WannaCry attacks earlier this month.

With the aim of improving awareness of the risks of cyber crime, UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has published a guide that covers a range of issues, including how organised criminal gangs are structured, how they manage to get access to systems and steal data, how they profit and – most crucially – how to protect oneself (and your company) from a cyber attack.

The guide – Cyber crime: understanding the online business model – looks at how organised gangs need to develop new malware continually so as to ensure cash flows. In many ways they are run like an established, structured organisation. The graphic below gives an idea of the different roles within organised criminal gangs, from coders, to data miners to money specialists and network administrators.

It's worth recapping on the NCSC's 10 steps to cyber security, which outlines some of the approaches to safeguard your organisation from online fraud or theft.

CTMfile take: Understanding how cyber criminal organisations work won't make you immune to an online attack but the fact that they are methodical, structured and highly motivated means we should all be taking online security very seriously indeed.

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