As seen in The Maryland Coast Dispatch
In the past 12 months, over 50% of small businesses have been breached by a hacker. Fears are on the rise and many people worry they’ll be the next one attacked. The key to learning how to outsmart a hacker is understanding how they operate. Sam Card answers questions about how hackers operate and what you can do to avoid being hacked.
Q: How do hackers access my computer system and how will I know if I’m being hacked?
Sam Card: It used to be that hackers used brute force to gain access to small businesses’ systems. Now, however, they’re much more cunning. Some use social engineering tactics to target your LinkedIn page, monitor connections, then use phishing scams to trick people into providing their credentials. Others monitor the dark web for stolen passwords and confidential information they can use or sell.
If you’ve been hacked, detecting the hacker’s presence might not be immediately noticeable. They may spend time lurking in your system learning your habits to better impersonate you for malicious purposes. Only when a colleague inquires why you sent an email asking him to “wire $10,000 to a Florida bank” will you recall clicking on an unusual email link several days earlier.
Q: Why is it so difficult to find out who these hackers are?
Sam Card: Unfortunately skilled hackers are not easy to catch. They mask where they came from and cover their tracks. They intentionally use hard to trace payment systems, like Bitcoin, that are easy to obtain and exchange, and provide anonymity.
The best strategy for your business is to take precautions to avoid being hacked.
Q: Will my cybersecurity system protect my business from losing everything and what should I do to protect my network?
Sam Card: Cybersecurity systems are only as good as the tools in them. First, consider what level of security your business needs, and how much risk you can tolerate. What if your business is hacked? Will you pay the ransom? Can you afford to have stolen data used inappropriately? Your answers to questions like these help you determine how you should protect your business.
It’s essential that you develop a multi-layered approach. Educate your staff on cybersecurity awareness so they can identify potential scams. Implement strict password policies. Change passwords often and employ multifactor authentication to help prevent unauthorized access. A good IT provider will provide continuous monitoring of your systems to identify any suspicious activity and take immediate action.
You have to make it difficult for a hacker to attack you. By creating a multi-layered security system you can help protect yourself from becoming another statistic.
As seen in The Maryland Coast Dispatch
Ransomware is an increasingly common method of attack for hackers against individuals, small businesses and enterprises alike. While the first incidents of ransomware were discovered as early as 2005, the last three years have seen this type of threat explode in popularity and compromise millions of computers and mobile devices around the world. Sam Card discusses why SMBs are a target and what you can do about it.
Q: Why would hackers be interested in my small business when they can go after the big guys?
Sam Card: You may hear about the larger organizations in the headlines, but lately it’s the small businesses that are becoming the primary targets for cyber-attacks. The main reasons that hackers find small businesses to be an easier target than larger corporations are because of vulnerable security systems, minimal formal security training and weak security policies.
Vulnerable security systems can include things like out-of-date anti-malware and endpoint security, network firewalls and email security solutions. Also, there seems to be an absence of regular cybersecurity training for staff to avoid phishing email scams or improper data sharing. Finally, infrequent network monitoring and poor password practices have been reported as “low hanging fruits” that hackers look out for.
Q: What are some immediate things I can do to protect my business?
SC: Understanding the techniques that cyber hackers use to attack your systems is a great first step in getting ahead. Things like diverse delivery systems and complex coding are common entry points into your system, and the more you know about how they are getting in, the better you can protect yourself.
Developing a multi-layered security strategy is another crucial element to protecting your organization. You may think a simple anti-virus program is enough, but there are much better tools now that work together in tandem to ward off sophisticated attacks and ensure the correct back-up options are implemented.
Educating your team on the best cybersecurity practices is another imperative step in the security puzzle. Today’s employees are regularly exposed to attacks through everyday entry points like email and mobile. Training employees to recognize threats is an essential part of complete cyber security.