5 Steps to Stop Small Business Cyber Crime

November 18, 2019

By John Sileo –

Cyber CrimeOn August 12, 2003, as I was just sitting down to a tea party with my daughters and their stuffed animals, the doorbell rang. Standing there when I opened the door was a big, burly special agent from the economic crimes unit at the district attorney’s office—ready to issue a subpoena for my arrest. In a calm but ominous voice, he told me I was going to be charged for electronically embezzling (hacking) $298,000 from customers of my small software company, and that the DA’s office had enough digital DNA to put me in jail for a decade.

I was the victim of cyber crime, and I should have known better. You see, earlier that year my identity was stolen and sold to a woman in Florida. This woman purchased a home, committed a number of crimes, drained my bank accounts and filed for bankruptcy—all in my name. I learned all of this one day at the bank, right before I was escorted out by security guards.

The experience of losing my money, time and dignity motivated me to protect my personal information assets with a vengeance. Unfortunately, I didn’t apply my newfound cyber vigilance to my professional life, which is how I ended up standing on my front step holding a tiny teacup and shaking like a leaf. (more…)

Cyber Safety for Small Businesses

October 28, 2019

With a whopping 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S, it’s no surprise they make up 99.9% of all United States businesses. Owning and running a business comes with a lot of added responsibility, one being the safety of employees — cyber safety included. With so many cyber threats running in the background of devices and the Internet, how can you keep your small business safe? Here are some steps to start the process.

Protect all devices

As companies hire, grow and expand, the use of devices is essential. Company devices should be properly protected before being actively used by employees. Plan to update all devices accordingly, to keep all systems working properly and efficiently use. Never forget to download antivirus software to help block any threats that can infiltrate your business. Viruses aren’t the only criminal making its way to your devices. Some other threats include: malware, ransomware, adware, pharming, phishing, and many more.

According to Candid Wueest, Principal Threat Researcher, Security Technology & Response team (STAR), Symantec Corporation, the warning signs of viruses are next to none: “Unless it is a ransomware threat that encrypts all your files, there are often no apparent clues that a computer is infected with malware. Some indications might be a 100% workload of the CPU or strange pop-up messages, but in most cases the user will only notice the consequences when people complain about strange emails, unusual logins or fraudulent transactions on payment cards.” (more…)

The Biggest Risk to Your Business: Inadequate Cybersecurity

July 9, 2018

By Linsey Knerl –

Cyber SecurityMost consumers today have been a victim of theft. While not everyone has had the harrowing experience of a home burglary or stolen car, a compromised email password or Social Security number has affected almost everyone. The FCC reports the theft of digital information has surpassed that of physical theft in the U.S. to become the most rampant type of fraud today.

As a small business owner, your risk is even greater. Any commercial task you conduct through the internet is especially prone to exposing your customers to this often-devastating criminal activity. How then, should a responsible company approach cybersecurity? Here are some of the best practices that wise entrepreneurs are implementing today. (more…)

7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Business Identity Theft

September 18, 2017

By Eric Rosenberg

Identity theft impacts more than 17 million Americans per year, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and businesses are not immune. The same havoc that identity thieves cause for individuals can harm a business’s finances and credit history. And, unlike individuals, when a business is attacked it could threaten the livelihood of many employees and customers who rely on the company. If you want to avoid identity theft for your business, follow these seven steps.

1. Switch to Digital Statements

Mail theft is a simple but common entry point for bad guys looking to steal a business’s information. Bank statements, credit card bills, human resources files, and other mail can be used to attack the business or others. To end susceptibility of mail theft, turn off the mail.  (more…)

Password Managers: Protect Your Business Online

November 23, 2015

By Scott Gerlach

padlockPasswords are broken.

OK, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about why, and some ways to help protect your business online.

To make passwords hard for computers to guess, you have to make passwords hard to remember. To prevent one compromised account from destroying the security of all of your online services, you should use different, hard-to-remember passwords. This predicament leads people to use one easy-to-remember password for everything. Which wouldn’t be bad except you don’t want your Facebook password to cough up your online banking credentials. Nor would you want to lose your domain names and hosting sites to a slip of a Twitter credential. (more…)

Password Safety

November 10, 2014

By Whitney Lemon

Lesson Highlight: Keep your business accounts secure with strong passwords

On top of that, many people use the same, easy-to-guess password. According to this CBS news story, the most common passwords of 2013 were: “123456,” “password,” and “12345678.”

Online security is an important topic for everyone, including small businesses new to the web. There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your online accounts. How? Create strong, secure passwords. It’s the simplest, and perhaps the most important thing you can do to protect yourself online.

Many people use one password for all their online accounts. That’s like using one key for everything: your home, car, office, etc.

If you are using any of these passwords for your accounts, please speed-read through this post then change your passwords to make them secure. Here are tips from Google’s Safety Center:  (more…)

Common Myths: Mobile Data Security and Universal Commerce

June 4, 2013

As consumers demand greater access to information, offers and payment functionality—anytime, anywhere—the lines between in-store commerce, eCommerce and mobile commerce are blurring. In this emerging Universal Commerce environment, it is therefore crucial to accurately identify potential new vulnerabilities and build effective defenses to stay ahead of data thieves. This short quiz will help us explore some of the myths and realities of security in the age of Universal Commerce.

Fact or Fiction: Fraudsters will actively look to siphon account information from phones and EMV cards.

Answer: Fact AND Fiction.
For passive devices like contactless cards, this is technically possible for criminals to do by picking a consumer’s pocket and attempting to circumvent the devices’ security features. However, it is practically unlikely and has compensating controls to prevent it from being an efficient method of data theft. For active devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets) with secure elements, remote data removal and encryptions, this is unlikely, and to reach the information, it would require a device-level “hack” to penetrate the layers of security. (more…)

Reducing Fraud and Increasing Data Security Top 10 Tips to Help Keep Your Data Safe

April 23, 2013

Your customers expect you to keep their personal cardholder data safe – not an unreasonable expectation and merchants must take it seriously. Such protection requires merchants to make an ongoing commitment to human and monetary resources, including new technologies, stronger policies and continuous diligence.

*NOTE: The following list is a selection of suggestions only and not intended to be an exhaustive or comprehensive list of data security tips.

Ensure your business is PCI DSS compliant

The Payment Card Industry (PCI) establishes and enforces security requirements for it constituents.
Ongoing compliance with the PCI DSS (Data Security Standard) is the critical first step towards a successful data security program.

Review how data is used in your payments system

Before you can protect it, you must understand the ins and outs of the confidential data in your system: (more…)

Free and Easy Security Software Keeps Your Data Safe

July 27, 2012

The decisions you make about protecting your computer data, networks and PCs are critical to your company’s success and, often, its survival. So you may have some initial skepticism about the advisability of using free security software.

Be assured that a group of security products available at the Microsoft website are built on the company’s track record of world-class, secure software and technology solutions. Microsoft understands that, especially for small businesses, every dollar counts and every digital document is crucial.

So these security offerings are perfect for SMBs with limited IT budgets and smaller IT infrastructures that need to be managed. I urge you to consider checking out these solutions to gain peace-of-mind regarding your business’s digital security: (more…)

My Favorite Free Anti-Virus Program

July 9, 2012

It seems not a day goes by that I don’t get a question from a reader about what antivirus program to use. This can be a tricky question because every tech-guy you run into will have a different opinion.

Here’s mine:

The necessity to “buy” an antivirus program is slowly going away. Large companies are now adding them in to their software offerings at little or no charge. Sometimes, when you buy a new computer, you will get a “free for a limited time” installation of some program, but eventually they will start hounding you for money.

As of this week, my favorite antivirus program is Microsoft Security Essentials. For my Mac friends, check out iAntivirus.They run unobtrusively in the background and have been very good at finding these nasty digital creatures. (more…)