How SMBs can protect from being hacked or attacked
Since the Internet became an integrated part in every business, as well as in our private lives, cyber security took its place as the threat number one of small and medium size businesses. As such, it also posts a very serious existential threat on these businesses because as estimated, half of them go out of business several months up to half a year after being subject of a cyber security attack.
A survey conducted by NCSA (National Cyber Security Alliance) and Symantec checked the awareness level of small and middle sized business and found that regardless the increase in Cyber Security attacks, 77 percent of the businesses are not concerned by this threat and feel secured against them. But reality shows that the situation is much worse than how it is perceived.
Cyber security attacks have many forms; they evolve with time and become more and more sophisticated and costly. In 2015 there was an increase in phishing scams only, of more then 50 percent from 2012.
Ransomware – encryption of the company files by hackers which later demand ransom payment to release the encryption and restore the encrypted files is one of the most common forms of these attacks in our days.
Network scanners and devices which allow transmission of various data and documents across a firm\business can also be means of such attacks into the network.
Exploitation of publicly available information can result in fraudulent transfer schemes where users are tricked to transfer money into ersatz bank accounts.
In order to prevent these attacks, or at least to decrease their potential of happening, there is an urgent need to raise the awareness of small and middle sized businesses to these threats and they must be willing to invest in proper hardware and software solutions .
They must install firewall to keep out unauthorized programs which attempt to transmit data over the network and put in place plans and policies to protect their businesses
It is also useful to provide security training to their employees and define clear guidelines for using the internet.
Additional efficient ways to reduce the likeliness of being exposed to Cyber Security threats are constant updates of the antivirus software, frequent changes of passwords and data encryption methods utilization.
All the users must be instructed to be careful when opening suspicious emails, save sensitive data on external devices and take frequent back ups of their files.