Saturday, September 3, 2011

Cybercrime Attacks Are Happening - Are You A Victim?

Small businesses are, in present times, faced by waves and waves of cyber attacks and are the targets of criminals whom want to compromise their computer systems and data stored both belonging to the small business and its clientele base. Another aim is to wrest the control of a small business and its computer network from its rightful owner(s) and its use as botnets to perpetrate more cybercrime. There are so many small businesses out there that rely on the internet to get a hold of clients and customers, therefore it makes them fodder for the hackers and cyber criminals. The reasons behind so many small businesses being targeted for attacks are 1) some rely on free antivirus applications which might not guarantee complete security from hackers, and 2) some frequently operate without any security measures, i.e. without firewall, without anti-spam and without antispyware. Perhaps the most prominent reason for the attacks on small businesses is that they are not prepared and do not have the resources to install and use the best available and sophisticated security software and/or hardware applications.


An attack on small businesses translates into lost revenue for all stakeholders and entrepreneurs. A corrupted website means total loss of control and all accruing revenue as well as such a website being under the control of the hackers will be used to prey on unsuspecting clients via their computers. The website also fuels the pilfering of data especially logins used to steal from online bank accounts. Yet others will be used to sell contraband like fake drugs and malware disguised as antivirus protection.

Small businesses should diligently work towards protecting their businesses from all forms of cybercrime. The imminent threats for small businesses presently are varied and efforts should be taken to work against them and keep criminals away. Types of attack include:

- Malware attacks usually aimed at conventional components of networks need to be addressed through the protection of this environment. Making sure that the PCs utilized by the business for its operations and online interactions have updated and running security products.

- Threats from cloud computing may suffice even though the providers of the services will ensure that all the client data within the infrastructure is protected and availed at all times. Even with that, businesses are advised to work on having their data secure which calls for consistent updated security applications.

- Mobile security should be worked upon since more and more people are using applications on their mobile phones to access information over the internet. This has opened a whole new world of cybercrime. These mobile applications are risky and have been used to redirect people to potentially harmful websites or to collect sensitive data like credit card information and bank details. Some applications reveal data to third parties and this information can and will be used against the business. Small businesses should have the appropriate software installed to ensure mobile security.

- Social media is yet another front on which cyber crime is perpetrated. The sharing of information done on the social platform predisposes a small business to cyber attacks. Some profiles and comment from employees may attract the attentions of the hackers so will employ their schemes to solicit information and initiate viral attacks which spread very fast to other users. Security breaches can occur from the businesses client on these social platforms. Avoid suspicious links and applications which require sharing of information as these could be malware.

- Wireless networks commonly called Wi-Fi are increasing in popularity. Hackers are getting more sophisticated and are able to infiltrate such networks irrespective of the strong authentication and encryption. This becomes a threat small businesses should work on.

- Click-jacking is a method employed by cyber criminals to conceal links on a website which will be used to solicit confidential information or to take over the user's computer. Stray away from such threats by ensuring there are up-to-date security measures on the operating system as well as all software including internet browsers.

- Phishing attacks are most common where people are duped into opening emails in which they reveal sensitive information thinking that a legitimate organization has sent the email. There is software to scan all emails for malware and these should be installed for a small business to remain protected.

This list might not be extensive but identifies areas where small businesses should concentrate their efforts in order to stay protected from cyber attacks. Purchasing multiple tactics of cyber defense comes at a cost, however in reality it costs more to remedy the ills that malware causes not counting the lost business opportunities. Caution against attacks can be taken to ensure protection through the purchasing of antivirus software and all other applications that secure a small online business.

Other measures for which a small business can guarantee a secure and productive environment are the blacklisting of websites using content filters. This means that access to potentially risky websites is restricted to avoid security breaches. This eliminates liabilities for the business since employees won't be surfing and clicking on non work related websites that would introduce spyware and malware.

As strides are made in the information and technology world, small businesses are finding it easier to keep up with the security challenges. Solutions like Software-as-a-Service (Saas) are one of the upcoming ways through which small businesses can utilize security applications that are remotely hosted at a fraction of the cost of using the traditional methods. The management of the security processes is also left to the service providers who are better equipped with expertise and resources.

In conclusion, small businesses rely on the internet to propagate business and sustainability. The advantage that the internet gives to small business should be harnessed through the use some of the above measures to eliminate threats and cybercrime. Enhanced security is critical and is an investment which every business should make to maximize productivity and financial gains. Research to identify the best security options and providers and thereafter compare them with reviews and information unearthed to obtain comprehensive security options and support.

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