The increasing media coverage gained by cybercrime and other online threats is truly an abstract thing for many businesses. It is hard to understand which cases are great media stories and which ones represent a real danger to your business.

Today’s malware is highly sophisticated and can be built exclusively to make criminal profit. Inadequate security will hit your bottom line.

Malware can exploit various vulnerabilities and weaknesses in corporate systems such as outdated software or lack of a proper security solution. This access allows a wide range of actions that can have clear monetary costs for companies.

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One clear purpose
- to steal data and money

The underlying criminal network is complex and highly professional, with nothing distinguishing it from real business. In fact, it operates with the same principles as legitimate businesses. Various entities specialize in different parts or aspects of criminal activities, and sell their offering to other intertwined parties in the system.

Despite the complexity and sophistication of the system, the actual ‘crimeware’ is highly commoditized and readily accessible to a wide range of end-users. They are sold in pre-packaged ‘exploit kits’ that can be used even by those with limited computer proficiency. In fact, some ‘kits’ even provide different price-points, customized support and periodic updates for these criminal software packs.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that the annual costs of cybercrime for businesses is soaring. For the criminals however, this is purely profit.

Cybercrime is as rich and complex business as any other, with various entities selling innovative tools and services geared towards criminal exploitation. The resulting criminal network has one clear objective – profit.

70%of malware attacks
are profit oriented

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What should I know about Malware?

Today’s malware, faced by modern day companies, is very different from the relatively harmless older versions.

Modern malware is highly sophisticated and often built exclusively to make criminal profit. Malware can exploit various vulnerabilities and weaknesses in corporate systems, such as outdated software or lack of a proper security solution. This access allows a wide range of actions that have clear monetary costs for companies – but are profitable for the criminal.

Compromised company assets can be turned into profit in many ways:

  • The loss of personal information from corporate systems can lead to personal scams against company employees
  • Compromised workstations can allow criminals to create fraudulent payments directly from company accounts
  • Stolen sensitive information about clients or partners may lead to serious legal ramifications

Even IT resources in corporate networks are lucrative for criminals. Raw computing power, additional slave computers, or simply by sending ‘credible’ spam and malware from the company’s email address can all be turned into criminal gain.

Malicious software, or Malware in short, are applications specifically created to access computers, mobile devices, or networks. Primary targets are highly sensitive financial or personal information, mainly for monetary gain.

Harmful for the company –
but profitable for the criminal.

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Are you a lucrative target?

Organizations, by nature, deal with sizeable amounts of money. The profit at the end of the month might not be large, but the amount of money in circulation is considerable, and thus of interest for criminals. Furthermore, a contaminated corporate network offers a variety of IT resources that can be turned into hard cash.

However, the amount of money and resources available is not the only factor. It is the ease with which cybercriminals can access the money and resources that makes most organizations truly lucrative targets.

Easy money is the main reason why cybercriminals target businesses.

In fact, studies show that target selection is mostly opportunity based. So rather than being specifically singled out for an attack, victims fall prey due to opportunistic exploitation of apparent vulnerabilities.

In the vast majority of cases, exploitation of these vulnerabilities is not highly difficult or complex. With this in mind, it is not surprising that most attacks could be avoided by adequate IT resources and an effective anti-virus solution.

Business entities are highly lucrative targets for cyber criminals. Most victims fall prey to opportunistic exploitation of security vulnerabilities. These originate from the challenge of ensuring comprehensive security with limited IT personnel and resources.

79% of victims are
targets of opportunity.

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When average just doesn’t cut it.

A basic anti-virus solution is powerless against the growing number of highly sophisticated malware. Their efficiency against more common malware is questionable as well.

In fact, by relying solely on a basic anti-virus solution, even a medium sized company can accrue an enormous amount of malware annually.

Employees, without additional layers of protection, face two malware infections per year, on average. This is a considerable number as the amount of malware the company faces accumulates quickly. This means that an organization with 500 employees faces up to a total of 1000 malware per year. With an average industry detection rate of only 92%, as many as 80 individual infections will pass the anti-virus solution.

The clean-up costs of such a large number of infections are excessively high. This requires unnecessary work hours from IT, disrupts the employee’s work, and poses a significant threat to the business itself.

On average, 1 out of 10 malware attacks succeeds, due to the mediocre detection rates of traditional anti-virus solutions. Annually, this results in a huge number of accrued malware, and prohibitive clean-up costs for businesses.

Calculate your clean-up costs

Calculate the direct salary costs of manual clean-up procedures in your company.
*0.92 is the industry average detection rate of malware 

0 /year

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If your business comes to a grinding halt...

Having your business down, even for a short time, will cost organizations money. With the sophistication of modern malware, even a single infection can have serious disruptive consequences for businesses.

In many cases, business disruptions arise from the downtime of various IT resources, preventing day-to-day operations. An inoperative corporate network, for example, prevents employees from accessing crucial information, while simultaneously interrupting online business communication.

More serious business disruptions, some even resulting in bankruptcy, will result from the loss of sensitive financial information. Destruction or loss of financial ledgers can disrupt revenue, while the corruption of a customer database can completely stop the day-to-day operations of a sales organization.

Even large manufacturing companies are at risk. If their critical IT infrastructure is contaminated and unable to operate, production has to shut down for an indefinite amount of time - with costs soaring upwards every hour.

Even a single malware infection can bring business operations to a grinding halt. Without the additional protection layers offered by a dedicated anti-virus solution, malware can result in the contamination of the whole corporate network.

How much does it cost to have your
business down for one day?

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Compromising your company assets?

Widespread contamination can result in the loss of sensitive financial or personal information. For example, the destruction or loss of financial ledgers can disrupt revenue, while the corruption of a customer database will completely stop the day-to-day operations of a sales organization.

Due to the tightening of data protection legislations, the loss of private customer data can have serious legal ramifications. Notably for companies accountable for the confidentiality of sensitive information about their clients or partners.

The threat is especially relevant for companies with intellectual property or research investments. For them, the loss of these assets can mean the end of business.

The impact on a company’s brand can also be significant. Malware attacks that leverage a company’s brand equity for criminal purposes seriously erode customer trust and confidence, causing damage that can be difficult and expensive to repair. Consider the consequences and reactions of your customers and stakeholders when spam or malware laden email is directly sent from your company email.

An unnoticed widespread infection within corporate systems can have alarming ramifications to business continuity. Criminal acquisition of trade secrets and intellectual property, or the loss of private stakeholder data, can have dire long-term consequences.

$ What is the value of your
business critical information?

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Gap in your protection?

Outdated software poses the single most significant online security risk for businesses, due to the vulnerabilities left in outdated software. They are like open doors, allowing easy access to corporate workstations and networks.

By relying solely on an average anti-virus solution, there is a reasonable chance that some of the malware entering through these vulnerabilities are stopped. However, few realize that the ‘door’ is still wide open as long as the software is not up-to-date.

In fact, with a wide variety of outdated software, ranging from operating systems to common programs, browsers and plugins, the number of exploitable vulnerabilities is staggering. Quite literally allowing a cybercriminal to just walk in to your corporate workstations.

Despite the dangers, businesses are reluctant to address the issue due to cost and time required. Some may not even know what is installed on the corporate machines in the first place. In fact, 83% of the malware targets vulnerabilities already have an existing update!

Outdated software poses the single most significant online security risk for businesses. Despite the dangers, some businesses are unaware or reluctant to address the issue, due to the time-consuming and costly manual updating process of the software.

Outdated software
is a wide open door
to your corporate systems.

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Free is not really free.

The pressure of finding new ways of saving money during challenging economic times makes the idea of transitioning to ‘free’ anti-virus an appealing opportunity. However, before suddenly deciding on a seemingly lucrative opportunity, businesses should dive deeper into the associated costs.

In the recently published White Paper (02/2013) conducted by IT-Harvest, businesses are advised to take at least the following factors into consideration while considering of changing to free-AV:

  • What are the costs for maintenance and support?
  • Are there additional server license costs?
  • What specific skills does our IT department need to have to support free-AV?
  • Is there free training or support available?
  • Quantifying the additional risks and costs of not having a best-of-breed security solution

Businesses should dive deeper in to the real costs of “free” anti-virus solutions. The pressure of squeezing additional IT savings often leads to underestimating both the real and hidden costs of a seemingly free anti-virus solutions.

VALUE AND COST ANALYSIS of Microsoft Endpoint Protection Versus Best of Breed Solutions

Hidden costs can grow
into substantial figures!

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