Chances are, if you’re a small business owner, you’re trying to get informed on how to be safe and secure online. Good news! This could help you become part of the 17% of small businesses that have some sort of cyber security plan.
Like many, you’ve read about large corporations losing millions to some guy on his laptop overseas in his parents’ basement. But now small businesses (SMBs) are becoming the target for these faceless attacks, mainly because SMB owners don’t have the time or resources to protect themselves against something that could seemingly never happen to you – why would they? Here’s why…
Let’s face it, once you get the hang of how to use the computer, storing data becomes less of a hassle, communication goes through the roof, information is at your fingertips, and most importantly we’re saving dozens of trees! It’s easy to get lost in the vast world of the internet, and at the same time, it is just as easy to get found without even knowing.
In most cases, hackers will infiltrate your system by way of email, they’ll target someone on the company email chain and get them to click on a link that tells you how to lose ten pounds in 30 minutes or some other scam – DON’T CLICK IT! Say that person isn’t feeling up to going to the gym that day, and next thing they (usually don’t) know, they’ve downloaded malware that will soon be sent to everyone in the company. Once the malware is downloaded, the hacker can harvest any login information you enter to your computer, gaining access to anything – Facebook, email, payroll – everything; this technique was used in over 80 percent of the hackings in 2010.
That’s how easy it is for hackers to gain access to everything you own. And don’t think it happens right when you click that forbidden link; in most cases viruses can lie in wait in your computer for a year before striking at the perfect time – like Christmas time, when you’re doing online shopping, it is easy to miss a fraudulent charge if you’re not paying attention. In one instance, a payroll company in Europe recognized a series of fraudulent charges, and was linked back to a family-owned business that had been creating paychecks for people in the company that didn’t exist. It wasn’t noticed till the payroll company had paid the hackers over $3 million in fake charges.
The good news is, it can be avoided. Here’s how:
Hacking is a real problem. As the number of small business owners grows, so do the opportunities for hackers to strike an unsuspecting target and take everything they have without even being detected. Hacking is becoming the new “thing” for thieves, why risk robbing a bank or sticking someone up, when they can rob someone from the comfort of their own home. It is scary indeed, if your small business gets hacked you could, ON AVERAGE, stand to lose up to $188,000 like other small businesses who were hacked in the past two years.
So do your due diligence and make hackers sweat for their earnings. Make sure wherever you’re inputting personal information that it’s a secure network, change your passwords (every so often) to random strings of letters and numbers that don’t have any meaning (even though your pet names are easier to remember. And encourage your employees to be just as wary of password and network security as you are!