Hackers today have many ways in which to attack small businesses and business owners. Many hackers attempt to gain information or attack businesses with malware, viruses or phishing attacks. One or more of these techniques can be combined with gaining physical access in an attempt to steal information and data from vulnerable firms.
This articles will help you identifying precisely how criminals target businesses to help protect you from the most devastating attacks out there.
Both owners and staff need to remain vigilant and informed as these are the most vital things you can do as a business owner to protect your assets and reputation.
Different types of attacks tend to rise and fall in popularity as the years go by. Fifteen years ago, computer worms were the most common attack that businesses experienced. Security software wasn’t as advanced as it is today and worms were, at the time, an exceptionally low-cost and efficient way to inflict the maximum amount of damage for minimum cost.
Today ransomware has seen an unfortunate rise in popularity. This technology aims to encrypt the target’s files on their computer and network. This technique holds the user to ransom by denying them access to their owns files until a ransom (usually in bit-coin) is paid.
The attack has worked so often because it requires minimal effort and can be used again and again. Many businesses have no option but to pay because they have no backups and the data is worth far more than the ransom demanded by the hackers.
The best defence against ransomware attacks, in addition to strong security (security software plus a hardware firewall or UTM), is an up-to-date off-site backup — that is tested to work!
Targeting Customer Data
One of the most important things for your firm is responsible for is your customer data records. These records can include names, addresses, dates of birth and other personally identifying details. These details are extremely valuable to hackers and criminals who either use them personally or sell them on the dark web to someone who will.
Many countries and regions have strict laws and guidelines about how customer information must be kept and protected. Failing to follow these rules can result in severe penalties that could devastate any company.
Some countries like Australia have data breech laws so you cannot keep a successful hacking attempt quiet in order to protect your business “good” name.
Targeting Financial Information
Like personal information, a small business must take extreme care when storing their customers financial information.Personal and sensitive details such as credit card numbers and banking information are a key target for hackers.
The impact on your business reputation following a breach of financial data will be severe and devastating. Even a simple mistake can require years of advertising and great PR to repair. Many companies have failed to recover after losing the trust of their customers.
Many firms today run top class IT security packages to protect against online attacks and other forms of malware. Attackers often know to take their methods off-line to achieve their desired aims.
Posing as a supplier, customer or another interested party, attackers can seek to gain information that you may be less than willing to hand over to a stranger. Small businesses can often be used to gather information on their vendors and suppliers in order to attack them too.
Be particularly cautious of the information you provide when discussing business with individuals you haven’t spoken to before.
Hackers can also pose as other companies or departments within your company. For example they may say they are form Microsoft or your own internal IT department and request access to your computer. Always call the company (don’t ring they number they give, always check the number with your records or from the companies website) they say they are from before giving them access to your computer or any other information they request.
Keeping Small Business Safe
Each of these targets and attacks are just some of the most popular attacks out there now. The list is forever changing and as such the methods we use to protect against them always need to change too – what worked for protection yesterday doesn’t always work tomorrow!
Some can be defended against with backups, security hardware and software. Others, such as social engineering, need you and your staff to stay up-to-date and remain vigilant about what types of attacks the bad guys use and what type of information you provide.
If you need help tightening your businesses security, contact us on 08 8326 4364 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.