4 minutes reading time (890 words)

Your Small Business Could be a Great Target for Cybercriminals

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When it comes to running a small business, there are a lot of things that owners need to juggle. Cyber security is just another thing on a long to-do list. It’s also one that often falls by the wayside. After all, it’s not like you have a huge database of clients – who’s going to bother to hack you, right?

Wrong. That is a critical mistake. While it is true that your business has a lot less information to steal than would be the case with a large corporate, you are fooling yourself if you think you are not a target. In fact, small businesses can be a lucrative target for some hackers because they tend to be easier to hack.

How Could a Hacker Make Money Off Your Data?

There are a few main reasons that a hacker would want to get into your system, and none of these is good news for you.

  • Stealing personal information of clients.
  • Getting access to your financial information.
  • Installing Ransomware.
  • Creating chaos for fun.

Stealing Personal Information of Clients

This one is possibly the most dangerous of the lot because it can be hard to pick up. The only inkling anyone might have is when this personal information is used for identity theft, or when their credit card is used fraudulently.

You can be held liable if this happens because your systems weren’t adequately protected and that could mean having to settle serious lawsuits. Even if things don’t progress to court, rebuilding the trust of the clients who entrusted their information to you is not easy.

Getting Access to Your Financial Information

If the person hacking your system is any good, they could get enough information to clean out your bank accounts.

Installing Ransomware

Imagine if you got to work tomorrow and all your computers had crashed. Imagine if you got locked out of your own system. If someone manages to install ransomware on your computer, you won’t have to imagine.

This is a common form of attack, and it can be devastating. You cannot gain access to your files unless you pay the ransom demanded. And, even if you do pay, there are no guarantees that your access will be restored. In many cases, it will be, though.

The problem here is that they have you over a barrel. Without paying the ransom, you will not be able to access your files at all. Your business will grind to a halt.

Creating Chaos for Fun

Then you get the malicious types. They don’t want to steal your data or hold it to ransom. They just want to cause as much chaos as possible. These attacks can be particularly dangerous because the object is just to destroy as much of your data as possible.

What Can You do to Protect Your Business?

Fortunately, there is quite a bit that you can do to ward off these attacks. Whilst a highly determined hacker might be able to work around a lot of security features, making it as difficult as possible to access your system can offer significant protection.

Make yourself a hard target, and it won’t be worth the effort to breach your systems. We advise that you stick to all of the following procedures instead of just relying on a single one.

Anti-Virus Software

Okay, yawn – that’s nothing new, right? But anti-virus software by itself might not be enough. Look for a good anti-malware and anti-ransomware product as well. And then set it to check for updates automatically. The more up to date your software, the more protected you are.

While we are on the subject, it is also important to update your other software at the same time. Windows updates are annoying, but they do serve a good purpose. If a vulnerability in the program has been found and exploited, updates will usually provide a patch.

Backup Your Data Separately

This is something you should be doing whether or not you are worried about viruses. Create a backup of your system and store it in cold storage. i.e., on a system that has no access to the internet. For example, an external hard drive. Have a regular backup schedule to follow.

Restrict Access to Your System and Network

Working on a wireless network is very convenient. The wireless connection is something that people often forget about. You need to use a reputable service provider and ensure that the network is password protected to prevent it from being hacked easily.

When it comes to your physical computer systems, the same applies. Make sure that access is restricted in terms of physical access and system access.

The basic rule of thumb when it comes to cyber security is to reduce your risk. Never assume you are safe – act as though you could get hacked at any time. That way, you are less likely to get caught napping.

Increase cyber security awareness

Each person that is involved in processing corporative information should be aware of all the tips and tricks criminals can get to in order to steal the data. Cyber security training increase the overall security of your company. According to statistics - only 48% of data security breaches are caused by acts of malicious intent. The rest - is the human factor or system failure.

Infographic: Awesome Cyber Security Facts

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Thursday, 13 December 2018

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