The Biggest Online Threat To Maltese Businesses Is Complacency – Police

 The biggest cyber threat to Maltese businesses is complacency – in other words, the belief that they will never be attacked over the internet, the Malta Police Community Media Relations Unit (CMRU) told this website.

The biggest cyber threat to Maltese businesses is complacency – in other words, the belief that they will never be attacked over the internet, the Malta Police Community Media Relations Unit (CMRU) told this website.

 “Businesses are increasingly relying on technology.  Whilst providing new opportunities, this also exposes these businesses to new threats.  Examples of threats being faced by businesses nowadays include ransomware, CEO scams and cyber-attacks intended to cripple their IT systems’ availability.  From a financial point of view, the losses incurred by victims of cybercrime can be quite substantial,” a CMRU spokesman told Maltachamber.org.mt.

“Due to the instantaneous nature of the internet and its ability to share information with ease, consequences on an individual’s reputation derived from information shared online could also be far reaching. It is important for businesses to have in place the procedures that allow them to identify and address the specific threats they are facing. It must be said that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution in this regard. It is imperative that businesses train their employees on internet safety, back-up their data regularly and have the necessary infrastructure to mitigate any threats they come across.”

When asked for their reaction to the recent reports that revealed Malta as the European country most exposed to cyber-attacks, the CMRU said that the report in question was a conglomeration of four different reports, each of which could be subject to interpretation.  “Two of the reports which are quoted are published by private organisations and offer a limited visibility of the overall picture of the threat landscape since it is a vendor-specific view.”

“Furthermore, the findings on the exposure of residents to cybercrime are based on the number of reports received without taking into consideration issues such as alternative reporting or under-reporting.  In this regard, whilst the Police takes note of this report, the claims contained within cannot be interpreted in isolation.”

The CMRU spokesman added that it had to be pointed out that investment in the Police Cyber Crime Unit is continuously ongoing.  “Currently the Cyber Crime Unit is implementing an EU funded project entitled ‘Smart Policing: Enhancing the Capacities of the Cyber Crime Unit’ that will see an investment worth over €670,000 in new tools and technologies for this team.  This project will be complemented through an investment in human resources assigned to this department through continued specialised training.”

“At this stage, one must emphasize that our local criminal legislation is already in-line with the requirements laid down by the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime, the EU Directive on Attacks against Information Systems and the EU Directive on combating the Sexual Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children. Malta has been an active participant in a number of operational law enforcement groups tackling different types of cybercrimes as well the ongoing discussions being conducted at EU level vis-a-vis Digital Evidence and Exchange of Information.  Furthermore, the Police Cyber Crime Unit is the designated point of contact within a number of 24/7 networks set up at international and European levels to expedite preservation and exchange of information in computer related investigations.  Although further improvements could be made, the limitations faced by the Police Cyber Crime Unit when using such networks are usually due to issues which are beyond the country’s area of control.  In this regard, it is felt that the perceived attribution of ‘poor international cooperation’ to local authorities is somewhat unfair.”

Police statistics from 2003 onwards show that the most common types of cybercrime in Malta are computer misuse, such as unauthorised intrusion into online accounts; online fraud, such as individuals duped by scams or difficulties encountered when purchasing/selling products over the internet; and cases of insults, threats and private violence (such as defamation).

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