Cyber Crime


Affiliate marketing is an excellent platform for publishers to promote relevant offers to site visitors and their database. Indeed, affiliate marketing is the cornerstone of ActiveWins and is a channel that we invest a great deal of time and effort to support. We also take the security of our affiliate partners very seriously, and diligently assess our risk of cyber-crime.

If you think this is a recent issue, think again. Computers have been tools for criminal fraud and theft as early as 1972 when a bank teller in New York City used a computer to embezzle over $2 million from his employer. In 1982, the world’s first computer virus was launched. The movie ‘War Games’ introduced us to the phenomenon of computer hacking in 1983, the same year that the US Secret Service got jurisdiction over credit card and computer fraud.

Cyber-crime, as we know it today, came into its own in the 1990’s with widespread computer felonies. Most of this activity centred on the spread of debilitating viruses that were passed on from one unsuspecting consumer to the next, usually via email. More sophisticated hackers used their skills to steal money and information from financial institutions and governments.

As computers became more commonplace in how SME’s conducted their business, so did the problem of cyber-crime. Many small businesses couldn’t imagine a hacker would bother with their website when there were far bigger fish to fry.

According to a February 2015 UK study on cyber-crime, only 1/3 of small businesses felt they were at risk. The results of the study showed:

When asked if they agreed with some of the most common misconceptions around keeping their business secure online, over three-quarters (78%) of small businesses believed at least one. These included the following myths:

  • Only companies that take payments online are at risk of cyber-crime – All SMEs are in danger. While hacking of payment processing software is an obvious tactic, criminals are highly opportunistic and can benefit from stealing a broad range of data from businesses
  • Small companies aren’t a target for hackers - Not so. In fact, small businesses are a bigger target than ever. They typically hold far more data on the average consumer; however many SME's don’t have any additional preventative measures in place to protect themselves. Last year 33% of small businesses suffered a cyber-attack from someone outside their business

Affiliate sites, in particular, may find themselves vulnerable due to the number of links they are hosting for advertising partners. Without the proper security, these links can be easily redirected to either malicious or scamming sites.

We encourage all businesses to give their cyber security a health check. Visit to prepare yourself with tips and self-assessment tests against a cyber-attack. Watch this video for many misconceptions about the modern cyber-criminal.