17 May Cyber Attack 2017 Are You Next?
Yes cyber attack can happen to any business large or small. According to a report put out by the National Small Business Association (NSBA) nearly 50% of all small businesses reported they have been the victim of a cyber attack. Small businesses are the low hanging fruit for cyber criminals, they know that small business owners are lax in protecting access to their computers and data.
What Are The 5 Ways Cyber Criminals Gain Access To Your Data?
1. Through your employee. Yep surprisingly cyber criminals know people still fall for e phishing emails. Even though this is a fairly low tech and not overly sophisticated way of gaining entry, it works 90 percent of the time. People click on the link and the email and now that machine is infected and the cyber criminal can use your employee’s access to gain access to your customer’s data base.
2. Not Installing Software Updates and Patches: This current malware attack exploited a problem in Microsoft’s Software which the company had already sent patches out to its customers to repaired the problem. But the cyber criminals know it takes time to install those pesky updates and patches, and a good percentage of us do not take the time to update our software. But it pays to keep your software up to date. Software companies are continuously fighting off software breaches caused by cyber criminals looking for a way around the protections built into your software. It’s your job to install the update and patches. Without doing that you are leaving the door wide open for the bad guys.
3. Ransom software. Ransom software a piece of malware that got installed on your computer, either because you downloaded it when you clicked on a link in an email or you downloaded a piece of Free software. Typically what happens– your computer is locked or it may encrypt files on your system so you cannot access them. Often times a message is displayed that you need to call this number and pay someone to unlock your files. Ransomware attacks rose from 3.8 million in 2015 to 638 million in 2016. Small business owners are the low the easy target for a Ransomware cyber attack. Cyber criminals know most small business do not have a computer tech on staff and are likely to pay the ransom to get their files unlocked. However what happens is, you pay the ransom and then your computer is not unlocked. Do not pay the ransom. Most of the ransom malware out there can be removed from your system at a cost. How do you protect yourself? Simple, keep your anti virus software up to date.
4. Disgruntled employees: Yep employees become unhappy and may just want to cost their employer some money, time and a lot of worry by helping a cyber criminal to break into your system. The best way to protect your data is if an employee leaves your employment make sure you remove their access from your system as soon as possible.
5. Small business owners do not talk to their employees about how to protect the company from cyber crime. Make sure your employees know not to click on links in emails, download anything from unfamiliar senders or send sensitive company or financial information on public wireless networks when they’re working out of the office.
The Cost of A Cyber Attack has Jumped!
The report published by Sonicwall, “the average price for small businesses to clean up after their businesses have been hacked stands at $690,000; and, for middle market companies, it’s over $1 million”. The cost of cyber crime is not going down. There are a few things as a business owner you can do to protect your data.
- Your business applications for your financial, marketing and production systems should all be in the cloud. You should not be housing this software on your own server. Let the cloud provider worry about the security patch management, web application firewalls, etc etc etc. You are no longer responsible for it they are.
- Mobile phones. Half of small business owners and their employees use their mobile phones on public networks. Public networks are not secure and can be used as conduits to commit cyber crime. The easy fix is to download a VPN or Virtual Private Network app. Once you download the app just follow the directions to set it up.
- Train your employees how to protect your business from cyber crime. Make sure they know not to click on links in emails. Do not open or share data with an unfamiliar site. Do not download free software without approval.
- Back up your system. I know managing backups can be costly. But the cloud backup services can be simple and an affordable way to protect your data. Make sure you ask questions about any back of service you choose to use. You want to know where your information is stored and how do they protect it? Don’t forget to find out how fast you can access your data if you are indeed hit by a hacker.
- Subscribe to a secure email service. Email is an easy way for cyber criminal to hack into any system. Any time you send sensitive data about your business, employees, or customers via email you should be using a secure email service.
- Keep your anti-virus software, and all other software up to date. Make a schedule to sit down and update all software on every workstation.
- Do a security audit every month. Look for anything suspicious, like unusual transactions, viruses and malware.
Talk To Your Insurance Agent About Buying A Cyber Liability Policy. These polices have been around for several years now and are well worth the premium if you get hit by cyber crime. Give me a call 800-452-6826
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