WITH more people working remotely from home, how safe is your  business from cyber attack?

The functions required to run your business – email, browsing, cloud, WiFi, software, hardware – are all vulnerable to attack, leaving you exposed to viruses, data breaches, loss of data and loss of connectivity.

This will impact your staff, your customers and the reputation of your business – it will also cost you money.

Help is at hand from the Leasing Broker Federation which has partnered with Focus Group to help protect your online business during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

To gain access to a preferential rate and find out more either email lbf@focusgroup.co.uk or call either Tom Wyatt 01273 003824 or Antony Sullivan 01273 874118.

Focus Group delivers a range of business services including Telephony, Connectivity, Managed Services, IT, Security and Energy. Employing circa 300 staff in offices throughout the UK, Focus Group provides solutions to over 15,000 businesses.

We can help your business in the following key areas:

  • Remote Working: Coping with a remote workforce, homeworker phone systems, SIMs and broadband plus collaboration tools.
  • Dark Web Monitoring: Discover your exposure on the Dark Web and stop scammers and hackers in their tracks.

Earlier this year the Financial Conduct Authority expressed increasing concern over the possibility of cyber attacks and whether businesses are adequately protecting themselves and their customers.

It has warned that it will be checking up on brokers to make sure they have adequate online protection in place.

The FCA has examined a range of information and data, including firms’ regulatory histories and the type and number of complaints to assess how credit brokers could cause harm.

One of the areas of concern for the FCA is that some businesses are not considering or managing the risks to their business from technology, cyber- attacks and inadequate IT resilience.

Even with a firewall or antivirus software in place, businesses are still vulnerable.

An open port is the most common way a hacker can break into a system to harvest data or initiate devastating ransomware attacks.

Already almost half of UK employees working from home during the coronavirus pandemic have been the victim of cybercrime, according to a new survey.

This often comes in the shape of suspicious emails as well as security breaches since lockdown began, according to the research by cybersecurity firm SentryBay.

The research also revealed that almost 50% of workers feel vulnerable due to the insecurity of the devices they are using, such as corporate laptops and PCs.

“Clearly measures have been put in place, but they have not been sufficient,” said Dave Waterson, CEO of SentryBay.

“Cyber criminals look for the easiest way to steal sensitive corporate data, and accessing a corporate network remotely from a compromised, unmanaged device is the softest route. The device is often the weakest link in the security chain, and data has shown that it is where 70% of breaches originate, so enterprises need to wake up.”

The most common type of cyber attack comes from clicking on a malicious web link.

Fraudsters are also the details of genuine car leasing brokers to set up clone firms to deceive unsuspecting consumers as part of a new finance scam.

Scammers are setting up fake email and social media accounts under the names of genuine leasing brokers by using the firm name, the FCA ‘firm reference number’ (FRN) and other identifiable information to try to convince customers that they work for an authorised broker.

Typically, fraudsters mix false details with correct details of the authorised firm in an attempt to illegally obtain monies from consumers under the pretence setting up a finance agreement or arranging a vehicle delivery.

The warnings come hot on the heels of a letter sent out by the Financial Conduct Authority to leasing brokers warning them that they are required to have adequate online security in place to protect themselves and customers from cyber attack.

Keith Hawes, Director of Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, said: “Clone scams are becoming increasingly common, so it is important that consumers are aware of these types of fraud.

“Fraudsters typically target unsuspecting consumers by calling out of the blue, but contact can also come by email, post, word-of-mouth or even at a seminar or exhibition. That’s why it’s important consumers know how to spot the warning signs.”

The FCA has put out the details of several clone firms, as well as information of several unregulated companies, to warn customers of firms acting without authorisation or knowingly running finance scams.

If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a leasing provider, start by running some checks to ensure you’re dealing with a real company. By law, companies must register with certain agencies and credit organisations, so consider making inquiries.

It is worth checking trade body sites like the Leasing Broker Federation, British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association or the Finance and Leasing Association to see if the company is a registered member.