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Home Insights & Advice Internet threats to look out for as a small business

Internet threats to look out for as a small business

by John Saunders
12th Sep 20 10:33 am

Nowadays, cyber security is a must, no matter if your business is an international corporation with millions of clients from all over the world or just a small local business. There seems to be a wrong belief going around that hackers do not target small businesses – nothing could be further from the truth.

It is actually quite the opposite, as the automatization of attacks allows them to target thousands, if not millions of small businesses, all at once. As the experts from Bulletproof cyber consulting notice, “In the last ten years, hackers attempted to break into business networks every 39 seconds.”

You might be wondering – why are hackers targeting small businesses? After all, large enterprises have much higher revenue, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to them? While this is true, small businesses usually are less protected, which makes them an easy target – they don’t have as strong a defense as big corporations do.

If you want to find out more about cyber threats you might have to face as a small business owner, all you have to do is keep reading.

Malicious code

Some of the forms of malicious code include malware, ransomware, spyware, and viruses. Usually, it is spread through emails with attachments or links, or by making you click on a website containing malicious code – in short, through social engineering deception. One click is all it takes to infect your system.

Unfortunately, making your employees go through cyber security training to make them look out for anything suspicious is not enough. Hackers are professionals in making the links and attachments they send look legit, so even with extreme caution, it’s easy to fall victim to their tricks.

Unsecured wireless internet networks

Using wireless internet networks definitely has some benefits – for example, you don’t have to worry about the cables, which not only saves space at the office, as well as money. They are also very easy to use – if you want to add another computer to the network, all you have to do is enter a password.

However, while without a doubt beneficial, unsecured wireless internet networks are a very easy target for hackers. By just using simple equipment and tutorials that are easily accessible online, cyber criminals can access all the data transmitted without encryption, including passwords, login information, trade secrets, and so much more. Once they have access to your business’s sensitive data, they can use it against you, for example, by selling your login information to your competitors.

Security breaches

Sometimes, the danger is closer than you think – internal security breaches can happen because of your employees’ carelessness or malice.

A security breach can take on many forms. For example, some people tend to forget their logins and passwords for company tools they are required to use, so they write them down on a sticky note and place them somewhere near their workstation, where everyone can easily access it.

Also, many companies tend to hire an independent third party, for example, to design their website – when it comes to people outside of your company, you need to be very careful with what type of information you are sharing. The truth is that you never know if the other person has bad intentions.

Phishing

Phishing is a widespread practice that involves sending out emails with false information that encourages people to share their passwords, bank account details, credit card information, and so much more.

Those emails look very legit, which is why realizing you are experiencing phishing can be pretty hard – they often seem to be coming from a reputable source, which causes many people to let their guard down.

Some examples include an email from your bank stating that you need to reset your password by using the link in the email, or an email from an IT department requesting the company’s employees to reset their passwords through an embedded link.

The bottom line

Small businesses are just as prone to cyber attacks as huge enterprises – if not more. As there seems to be a wrong belief going round that hackers and other cyber criminals are not interested in small businesses, many of them don’t focus on cyber security as much as they should.

As a small business owner, there are several internet threats that you need to look out for – with the ones we mentioned above being just a few of them. What’s more, if you have the chance, you should really consider organizing cyber security training in your company. While it might not completely erase the chances of falling victim to cyber crime, it will definitely help lower the chance of it happening quite a bit.

After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, don’t you think?

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