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No matter the size of your online business, you are still at risk of being attacked by cyber criminals. Having a basic awareness of what threats pose will help you protect your digital assets and your business. 

There is a common misconception that small businesses are rarely a target for hackers due to the smaller size and lack of valuables. However, any information stored on a site might be of value to a hacker so it is better to be aware and stay safe. Here are the top five cyber threats you should be aware of.

cybercrime

Ransomware – This is a form of malware (malicious software) that attempts to encrypt and scramble your data, to then export a ramsom to release an unlock code. The majority of ransomware is sent via malicious emails. Here is how to protect your company :

  • Make your staff aware that they should be wary of unsolicited emails – especially the ones asking for a quick response.
  • Instal and maintain good antivirus and malware protection software.
  • Keep your data backed up. This then allows you to recover data from an unencrypted version of a file. 

 

Phishing – This is an attempt to gain sensitive information while posing as a trustworthy contact. An example of this would be a bank or online service. Spear phishing is a very targeted attempt to gain information from an individual. Phishing emails often look completely convincing, with genuine logos and flawless grammer. This is a form of spear phishing, where a fake email from a CEO applies pressure to an individual into making an urgent payment. This has become known as whaling. Here are a few ways to protect yourself against impersonation. 

  • Bare in mind companies do not ask for sensitive information.
  • Be suspicious of unexpected emails.
  • Make sure you have spam filters turned on. 

 

Data Leakage – Phones and tablets are just as much at risk from data thieves as office PC’s. Here are some ways to protect data leaking from your organisation. 

  • Ensure mobile devices have passcode locks.
  • It is highly recommended that encryption software us used.
  • Key an eye of your mobile and paperwork when out in public. Most crime is opportunistic so never leave sensitive information unattended. 

 

Hacking – Gaining access to IT systems from outside an organisation is still a risk for businesses.  Usually hackers will trick staff into giving passwords and usernames out.

  • To protect from hackers use network firewalls, data security, and provide user awareness and training.

 

Insider Threat –  Staff could leak information either by mistake or maliciously, but here are some tips to minimise this happening. 

  • Educate your team to be alert to issues and minimise careless mistakes.
  • Only provide staff with the data that they need to do their role. 
  • Control the use of portable storage devices.
  • Consider using applications to monitor how staff are behaving around sensitive information.

 

These are just five of the main threats, but there are many more. Always be aware of who you share your personal information with and what you do with your companies sensitive data. If data was to fall into the wrong hands it could have catastrophic repercussions and can very highly damaging to an individual or company. 



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