In the age of information technology, firms are facing a new wave of challenges that target their network infrastructure among other online utilities. In the early 1970s when the internet was invented, cybersecurity threats such as ransomware, spyware, and viruses were nonexistent. The first computer worm can be traced to the late 1980s, which was developed by a graduate student whose intentions were to infect the UNIX system by exploring underlying vulnerabilities in the network. However, this ended up infecting a series of computers connected to the same network, causing the systems to crash. The graduate student was the first person to be charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. From the 1990s upwards, the world experienced a new wave of cybersecurity threats ranging from viruses to credit hacks. Even though the invention of antivirus software applications has played a significant role in enhancing cybersecurity, there is a need to observe the recommended precautions that aim at creating awareness when accessing the internet. Therefore, exploring the impact of cybersecurity threats on company performance highlights the need to embrace proactive measures that safeguard users from any attempts by third parties to gain access to their information.
Cyber Threat Concerns and Appropriate Critical Infrastructure
Hackers expose internet users to a complex scenario where individuals are obliged to embrace their demands to regain control over their network infrastructure and personal computer systems. In this regard, ransomwares are types of malwares that encrypt data before decrypting it using unorthodox methods such as blackmail. Cybercrime organizations target large organizations where they gain access to their internal systems and encrypt their data before demanding for ransom to decrypt the compromised information. Since 2013 up to late 2018, ransomware was the common cyber threat that threatened network and internet security around the world. Even though the decline is largely attributed to the promotion of antivirus software programs among other internet security measures, the evolution of ransomwares now exposes organizations and individuals to more risks than before. Therefore, identifying tactics that can be used in the world today to neutralize the impact of ransomware is critical to the realization of desired security measures in the corporate world.
In this cybercrime, unsuspicious clients are contacted by criminals posing as legitimate institutions urging them to provide their personal and confidential information. The popular methods of contact include phone calls, emails, and texts. It is a common practice for firms such as banks to contact their clients to verify their identity before processing their online transactions. In this regard, many individuals may not differentiate the authenticity of the two groups, a move that bypasses all forms of security because of the ability of the cybercriminal organizations to access their accounts of interests as the original owners. If successful, this cybercrime raises no suspicion because of their ability to maintain the required online personality when conducting their transactions and it may go undetected until the victim raises concerns to the issuing bank.
Low and slow data theft is prompted by an accidental data breach or a disgruntled employee who opts to intentionally leak confidential information to cybercriminals with the hope of a massive payout. Importantly, the unauthorized data transmission exposes a firm’s internet and network security to a wide range of vulnerabilities that facilitate access to a third party. While a majority of the data leaks occur through email and web platforms, it can also be prompted by storage devices such as optical media, personal computers, and USB keys. Corporations affected by data leakages suffer immense losses caused by a decline in revenue to crippling lawsuits from clients, which taint their public reputation.
In many instances, employees willingly share information to cybercriminals to gain a certain form of leverage that suits their immediate problem. In this regard, employee can go rogue because of their conflicting views towards work or be exposed unwillingly to an asset that retrieves information without their knowledge. Firms are encouraged to monitor the behavior of their employees to identify any suspicious cases that may expose them to cybercrime. For instance, if an employee is accessing large amounts of data, there is a need for the relevant authorities to follow up and establish the motive or intended use to mitigate any unanticipated criminal threats. Besides, any change of behavior leading individuals to work extra hours or acting withdrawn is a cause for concern, which should be examined to overcome any issue.
Emerging and Future Technologies
Artificial Intelligence (AI)-Generated Audio and Video
AI has made significant inroads in the modern world by exposing individuals to applications that allow them to manipulate their audio and videos to match certain expectations. Over the years, the deepfake technology has undergone significant transformation that has made it easier for cybercrime organizations to scam unsuspecting individuals. Today, it is impossible to differentiate the audio and video output generated using deepfake technology because of the significant improvements that have been made in the innovative tools. In future, hackers might use the gains made in the AI-generated audio and video to scam individuals through phishing attacks where they portray themselves as representatives of legitimate institutions in the corporate world.
Many mobile and computer manufacturers have invested heavily in quantum computing projects because of their feasibility aspect that influences their operational performance. Unlike the regular computers, quantum computers can process big volumes of data at a faster speed, making them effective and suitable for the fast-paced technological world. If implemented in the corporate world, quantum computing has a capacity of transforming the medical world, breaking encryption, and changing the communication approach (Mora et al., 2018). However, concerns have emerged from security experts who believe that quantum computers could break encryption used in airtight processes such as blockchain technology, exposing firms to a wide range of risks that can taint their market reputation.
As the world warms up to the 5G networks, the U.S. is currently involved in an economic war accusing the Chinese government of espionage using the technological improvement. In this regard, security experts and watchdogs believe that the milestone can be used by hackers to gain a certain level of leverage over the firms because of their ability to take advantage of the increased speeds (Kaska, Beckvard, & Minarik, 2019). Threats such as DDoS attacks can easily be launched by overwhelming the firm’s servers with traffic, which compels them to shut down, creating a loophole for cybercriminals to gain access in the internet and network infrastructure. From this realization, future improvements might expose subsequent generations to a wide range of security risks that hinder their online engagements and other related activities.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
When the IoT was been developed, firms were concerned about creating a certain level of interconnection among multiple devices by compelling them to communicate with each other. Today, many industries have embraced the technology because of its effectiveness and ability to yield favorable outcomes that benefit organizations in the business environment. However, with the widespread adoption of the technology in the contemporary society, hackers have also adapted to the changing times, posing additional problems without any suspicion from the different industries in the modern corporate world. In 2016, pirates exploited Verizon’s IoT infrastructure to track where they stored and the ships, they used to transfer valuable cargo (Chatfield & Reddick, 2019). In future, the IoT infrastructure might be exploited to facilitate cybercriminal activity that jeopardizes the ability of firms to safeguard the wellbeing of their clients.
The Role of the Government in Securing Cyberspace
Cybersecurity is an important aspect of the internet because it outlines the approaches individuals and firms can use to safeguard their private and confidential information. In the past, cybersecurity was portrayed as a technical concern that was supposed to be addressed by firms using complex software applications (Hajoary & Akhilesh, 2020). However, the human role was a central aspect in executing both the criminal attacks and defense strategies aimed at neutralizing the internet and network threats. From this realization, the role of the government in securing cyberspace is critical in the realization of favorable outcomes that protect individuals from prying criminal organizations.
In the recent past, government leaders and policymakers have demonstrated their progressiveness in pushing for the inclusion of cybersecurity measures when developing approaches to revamp national security. In this regard, states in the U.S. have strived to demonstrate the safe status of their regions to promote both local and international activities, which leads to increased economic activity (Segal, 2017). From this realization, the government must be involved in the process of preventing cyberattacks, cyber-related crime, and safeguarding critical infrastructure that can be targeted by cybercriminal organizations. Unlike firms, the government can propose certain legal measures that can have a lasting impact in protecting the cyberspace.
National security and the aspect of criminality in the cyberspace context are issues that are approached differently because of their unique impact on the country’s ability to safeguard the interests of its citizens. Cybercriminal organizations seize tools developed by the government to advance their selfish agenda in the contemporary community. The dark web, which thrives on anonymity, plays a critical role in exposing cybercrime establishments to modified and sophisticated materials that complement their roles in the modern world. From this realization, citizens in the U.S. are threats to cybercriminal organizations in Africa, despite the difference in addressing cybercrime between the U.S. federal administration and that of the host country (Srinivas, Das, & Kumar, 2019). Likewise, cybercriminal offenses vary significantly across countries, making it impossible to overcome the menace that continues to expose firms to a wide range of security risks during their operations in the business environment. Therefore, understanding the unique nature of a country’s ability to resolve the ongoing cybercrime activity presents an important talking point that outlines the measures that the geopolitical world should use to mitigate the fast-spreading cybercrime.
Given the conflicting issues that undermine governments from responding to the different threats affecting individuals in their surroundings, the U.S. federal administration can develop an inclusive national cybersecurity infrastructure that addresses the underlying issues facing firms in the corporate world. Importantly, defining the responsibility of accountability will help firms align their security measures alongside the new measures to accomplish desired outcomes in the contemporary society. The lack of clarity in defining accountability has led to the emergence of different vulnerabilities that are exploited by cybercriminal organizations to advance their selfish interests and agenda. Even though firms are supposed to embrace stringent measures to address the underlying issues, the government can contribute to the fight by developing a set of policies that complement the security approaches adopted by organizations in the corporate world.
The Responsibility of Private Firms in Facilitating Cybersecurity
Firms are expected to develop a wide range of measures that reduces external access into their internet and network infrastructure. Given their ability to generate profits by managing investor funding, private firms have a responsibility to their clients to protect their confidential and private information. In this regard, the adoption of measures that enhance security in their interactions with clients and other stakeholders in the contemporary environment. Importantly, private firms should develop effective cybersecurity policies that outline governance structures and the appropriate funding channels, which will be used to sustain the measures. In the same vein, the firms should develop a perfect structure that highlights the choice of leadership in responding to a crisis caused by cybercrime and other criminal-related activities.
Alternatively, organizations should identify qualified personnel who can help them implement various security approaches that safeguard use information when accessing their internet and network infrastructure. By empowering employees and other stakeholders, it becomes easier for the firms to eradicate security threats such as insider attacks and data leakages, which jeopardize an organization’s ability to respond to the changing business environment. Given its challenging status that has affected the operational performance of firms in the global business environment, cybercrime has emerged as one of the conflicting issues in the world today. Even though the private sector can take a lead role in addressing the different threats affecting the credibility of their internet and network systems, cyber threats have increasingly become major issues affecting individuals in their immediate environment. Therefore, observing the approaches that can be used to create a favorable context for the execution of security measures exposes one to the appropriate techniques that should be adopted to yield desired outcomes.
Currently, private firms are struggling to come to terms with the far-reaching impact of cyber threats and the ability of hacker groups to terrorize their operational performance. Even though government agencies promise to intervene through the development of stringent rules and regulations that favor private enterprises, little has been achieved that guarantees their ability to prevent the criminal activities targeting the global cyberspace. However, government agencies face a lot of pushback from organizations if they act in their interests as the move is largely misinterpreted as controlling activities in the corporate world. From this realization, private firms have embarked on a mission to invest in Research and Development (R&D) to discover salient reforms that can be introduced in the modern workplace to improve outcomes. Likewise, firms now embrace innovative security measures that can bypass the approaches used by hacker groups to seal existing vulnerabilities in their internet and network infrastructure.
In line with the proactive security measures that lower the chances of being attacked by hacker groups, firms have turned to cyber insurance policies to widen their scope of security. Unlike the protection received from the government, cyber insurance policies offer a certain level of financial leverage where firms can compensate their clients when faced with the worst form of adversity (Camillo, 2017). Many established firms such as Verizon have suffered immensely because of their inability to protect client information against a sophisticated network of cybercriminals. However, with the cyber insurance policies, firms can not only compensate their clients after being attacked but also focus on developing complex measures that reduce the accessibility of their platforms by unauthorized third parties. Collaborating with the insurance industry as opposed to government agencies offers firms a wide range of benefits that complement their operational performance in the business environment.
What Can Be Done from a Global Perspective?
Cybersecurity plays an important role in today’s society because of its ability to safeguard the wellbeing of individuals against hacker groups with ill intentions. Importantly, cybersecurity promotes an inclusive approach that entails the protection of sensitive data, Personal Identifiable Information (PIN), and intellectual property among other private and confidential data sets. From this observation, security awareness should be conducted around the world to inform individuals about the potential threats that can expose their financial and personal accounts to cybercriminal groups (Boeke, 2018). Given the fact that individuals are habitual, normalizing certain processes and activities will create the much-needed awareness that will seal the loopholes commonly exploited by hacker groups around the world. In a company setting, engaging the top executives equips them with the relevant information that can be used to safeguard client information and other aspects of interest to the cybercriminal movements around the world.
Prioritizing high-risk groups, leveraging storytelling, and preparing employees for data breaches are some of the approaches that can be undertaken by firms to remain a step ahead of cybercriminal groups in the world today. Importantly, every organization anticipates a data breach and speculates the immense losses ranging from financial costs to reputational crisis. From this perspective, undertaking the relevant measures that protect users and private entities from the cybercriminal organizations is one of the global measures that can have far-reaching impact against the activities taken by cybercrime and hacker groups around the world. Even though awareness is one of the most feasible strategies that firms can use to engage their employees and customers, there is a need to focus on the tangible measures that should be embraced by firms to accomplish their desired goals and objectives. Therefore, understanding the need to promote outcomes that influence individuals in the contemporary environment is critical to the realization of anticipated milestones in the workplace and beyond.
Exploring the impact of cybersecurity threats on company performance highlights the need to embrace proactive measures that safeguard users from any attempts by third parties to gain access to their information. Some of the cyber threats such as ransomware, phishing, and data leakages are human-centered and capitalize on the inability of individuals to take precaution when accessing the internet. In this regard, promoting awareness regarding the prevalence of these issues and the best approaches that should be used to accomplish favorable outcomes is a perfect strategy that can be used in the modern workplace and beyond. Some of the emerging and future technologies such as quantum computing and AI-generated audio and video undermine the measures put in place to safeguard individuals against the underlying cyber threats. For this reason, engaging both the private and public sector in developing proactive security measures can yield feasible solutions that influence the nature of outcomes in the contemporary society.
Boeke, S. (2018). National cyber crisis management: Different European approaches. Governance, 31(3), 449-464.
Camillo, M. (2017). Cyber risk and the changing role of insurance. Journal of Cyber Policy, 2(1), 53-63.
Chatfield, A. T., & Reddick, C. G. (2019). A framework for Internet of Things-enabled smart government: A case of IoT cybersecurity policies and use cases in US federal government. Government Information Quarterly, 36(2), 346-357.
Hajoary, P. K., & Akhilesh, K. B. (2020). Role of Government in Tackling Cyber Security Threat. In Smart Technologies (pp. 79-96). Springer, Singapore.
Kaska, K., Beckvard, H., & Minarik, T. (2019). Huawei, 5G and China as a security threat. NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center for Excellence (CCDCOE), 28.
Mora, O. B., Rivera, R., Larios, V. M., Beltrán-Ramírez, J. R., Maciel, R., & Ochoa, A. (2018, September). A Use Case in Cybersecurity based in Blockchain to deal with the security and privacy of citizens and Smart Cities Cyberinfrastructures. In 2018 IEEE International Smart Cities Conference (ISC2) (pp. 1-4). IEEE.
Segal, A. (2017). Chinese cyber diplomacy in a new era of uncertainty. Hoover Institution, Aegis Paper Series, 1703, 1-23.
Srinivas, J., Das, A. K., & Kumar, N. (2019). Government regulations in cyber security: Framework, standards and recommendations. Future Generation Computer Systems, 92, 178-188.
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