US trouble highlights major issue for North East businesses

June 7, 2021

The recent shutdown of the largest pipelines in the United States due to a massive cyber attack has yet again highlighted corporate risks and the vital importance of cyber security protection.

The colonial pipeline supples nearly half of the petrol and diesel for the US East Coast and its shutdown by hackers caused widespread disruption and near chaos.

DarkSide, a hacker group allegedly based in Eastern Europe, was behind the attack, and it has been reported it garnered some $90 million in Bitcoin in ransom money from the hack – and a number of other incidents against further operators – before shutting down soon afterwards.

Such a devastating attack attracts the headlines but to SMEs in the North East it seems a long way away.

However, the facts suggest otherwise, and all senior business executives need to be vigilant.

According to insurers Hiscox, a small business is hacked every 19 seconds and there are 65,000 daily attempts to hack UK SMEs*.

These hacks range in sophistication and are not solely motivated by immediate financial gain.

However, most expert hackers hold businesses to ransom and an increasing number of companies are paying the ransom fee rather than face the disruption and consequences of data loss or system rebuild.

The reason for this is that the breach was not detected or was detected too late.

Most businesses do take action to try and prevent a breach but virtually no SME has anything in place to detect when a breach has occurred, and those that do, can only detect the breach if they have a competent IT team with cybersecurity skills.

Melius Cyber is focused on protecting the SME marketplace by building cyber counterintelligence software that will detect a breach and stop a ransomware attempt before it gets started.

Our in house MELCaaS application is the only software on the market at an SME price point that will protect from – and detect – breaches, without the need for the SME to be technically competent.

Melius Cyber has put together a team of acknowledged industry experts whose experience can help a business’ IT team plan and prepare for a cyber attack.

David McPherson, Melius’ chief information officer, says: “Put Simply, MELCaaS performs a penetration test on your IT estate every day, so if you have a vulnerability that wasn’t there yesterday, or if a new global threat has been highlighted, MELCaaS will detect this, and our team will advise/support you through taking preventative action.

“We are also helping clients achieve better cyber hygiene through attaining Cyber Essentials plus and
ISO 27001 certifications, and we have recently been providing training workshops to highlight the action plan required to respond to a cyber incident.”

Eldon Jobe [pictured], Melius’ chief commercial officer, adds: “Headline-grabbing incidents such as the Colonial Pipeline, Travelex and British Airways are just the tip of the iceberg.

“Cybercrime is a real threat to all UK businesses and in all probability a serious breach will put 90 per cent of companies out of business, so taking preventative action is not enough.

“SMEs must prepare for when they are breached.

“To do this, they must be able to discover a breach as quickly as possible.”

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