Unfortunately for the little guy, small businesses are just as vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches as larger companies, and–in a lot of cases–even more more-so. Lack of knowledge and the idea that it “couldn’t happen to me” are just some of the reasons small businesses get targeted by malicious attacks. These breaches can be in the form of a virus or even a large data breach. To protect your business, your data, and your clients, it’s vitally important that you take some steps to put in place failsafes to make sure your information is secure. Still think it can’t happen to you? Let’s take a look at some statistics from 2020 that show exactly what happens when cyber security is overlooked:
- 43% of small businesses lack any type of cybersecurity defense plan
- 28% of the breaches in 2019 involved small business victims
- 63% of small businesses reported experiencing a data breach in the previous 12 months
Being prepared is half the battle and knowing about who and what can negatively affect your website is key. Here are some of the most common types of cyber attacks for you to look out for:
A Phishing attack is where you or your company is sent fraudulent emails or messages that appear to come from a reputable source. These types of emails can trick your staff into divulging personal or professional information, even credit card numbers and social security information. Phishing is “spamming” for a new generation and is designed to look like it’s coming from an email you may normally associate with. Never send credit card info through your email and do not follow links through a suspicious email. In addition, always check the sender address at the top of the email. Contact the entity directly via their website or contact number if you sense anything is amiss with a communication you received.
Malware is software that is designed to damage or disable computers and computer systems. Malware can steal critical information from your system or network, slow down your internet connection, log your keystrokes, steal your credentials, take advantage of your computer to spam others (phishing) and much more. To businesses everywhere, malware is becoming much more sophisticated. Make sure your network is always secure. Keep your anti-virus/anti-malware programs up to date to combat the newest malware and ensure that your IT department or outsourced IT team is keeping tabs on threats as they emerge.
This type of malware is exceptionally devious and can cost you. Ransomware is malicious software that infects your computer and displays messages demanding a fee to be paid in order for your system to work again. It is a way for criminals to make money off of you, your data, and your business’ interests. It can be installed through a website, e-mail or even instant message. Ransomware has been known to lock a computer screen or encrypt important, predetermined files with a password and you won’t be able get any of your data back without paying. Always make sure your firewall is on, antivirus software is installed and up to date, avoid suspicious websites and be careful opening up emails from unknown parties. Again, never follow links from suspicious emails and always double check the sender. Never follow links from an email to enter private information. Anti-virus/anti-ransomware programs also help guard you from a ransomware attack.
Man in the Middle (MitM):
This is a type of eavesdropping cyber attack where attackers interrupt an existing conversation or data transfer. After inserting themselves into the middle of the transaction, the attackers pretend to be legitimate parties and steal the information (and–potentially–money) from the victim (your business and/or customers.) Make sure to always be on a protected, firewalled network and never use a Wi-Fi connection that isn’t protected or known. Always use end-to-end encryption in all your emails and correspondence.
Here are some tips to guard your small business from a cyber attack:
- Secure your Wi-Fi networks
- Provide firewall security for your Internet connection
- Train employees to look out for cyber attacks
- Make sure your website has up to date malware protection in place
- Never give out sensitive information through unprotected channels
- Use unique passwords and make sure you have two-factor authentication (2FA) enabled
- Limit authority to add or detect programs so not just anyone use it
- Ensure you have a secure web host
- Use anti-fraud services when you take payments online
Guarding your website from cyber attacks may seem stressful and daunting, but there is help out there. It can come in the form of a program, a company that is knowledgeable in cyber attack protections and an overall basic understanding of how your business can be susceptible. Knowledge is power!
Need a helping hand to get your website secure and free of attacks?
At Bhirst Media, we know how important it is to be vigilant in the age of information as a small business owner. We know that your website is integral to your business and are prepared to not only give you the knowledge to protect your website but we will make sure you have all the tools to keep it guarded.
As business owners, we have a finite amount of time and money. How much time are you spending on things you aren’t an expert in? You need to focus on growing your business and delighting your customers. It’s what you do best! Let BHirst Media worry about your website updates and maintenance – that’s what we do best.
We even provide a free guide that will help you to put together a clear plan for your website, help you understand the importance of security and give you peace of mind. Stop by our website to learn of all of our services, grab your free guide and find out how BHirst Media can help your business thrive.