There has been an unprecedented rise in the number of small businesses targeted by hackers. Many were unprepared and had laboured under the illusion that it could never happen to them. According to experts, it is quite common for smaller businesses to consider themselves immune to cyber attacks. After all, it is the news that multinationals like PayPal and Playstation got hacked that makes headlines. However, there is a genuine threat to your business this year, and you may need to take some precautions.
An Unexpected Threat
In February, the Guardian reported that a Blackburn-based company had thousands of files on their network encrypted by a virus. The only way that they could save their data was to give in to the ransom demands of the hackers, who asked for £3000 to decrypt the files.
Ransoms are not the only strategy, and hackers have also returned to tactics like “bait and switch”, where hacked content is injected into top-ranking sites. Malicious code can be used to redirect your website’s visitors to harmful pages, where they unwittingly download viruses designed to steal passwords and account information. Hackers can also hack or spoof email accounts and steal money from people.
Being hacked, especially if client data is compromised, can have disastrous effects. Clients lose trust and you lose business.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
According to research, you can reduce the threat of being hacked by 80% by following some simple rules.
The first rule of prevention is improving site and network security. Even if you run a very small organisation, designate someone to monitor your sites. Consider outsourcing to a web design company, such as Ryco Newry web designers, who do web design in Newry. A good web design company or even a carefully selected hosting provider will keep a back-up of all site data and run daily security scans on your websites.
Passwords need to be strong. Tony Edwards, writing for the online publication Search Engine Land, says choices such as “website1234” or “password1234” don’t make the grade.
It is important to keep software up to date and to install anti-virus and malware protection on all company devices.
Educating your staff can minimise the human errors that all too often lead to sensitive information being lost or given to the wrong person.